Whether you have one or more children in child care or you're looking into it because you're curious, here you can find things that parents can do at their own house to complement what child care providers are doing.
What is Farm to Child Care?
Farm to Child Care is a nationwide movement to connect childcare providers and young children with local farmers for the purpose of providing healthy meals and snacks, as well as incorporating local food themes into childcare curriculum and activities. The goal is to develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors and community vitality by strengthening regional food systems. Easy, fun and affordable changes can be the first steps toward healthier children, communities, and landscapes.
Why Farm to Child Care?
This is the most influential age for developing a taste preference for healthier life-long healthy habits.
Children learn through sensory and dramatic play, math and science, circle time and arts and crafts.
These activities help to build children’s farm and food knowledge, by making connections with farmers and local food systems.
How does it work?
This national movement connects farm fresh local foods with 0-5-year-olds. Farm fresh food is purchased and prepared for healthy meals and snacks. Agriculture, gardening, and nutrition themes are incorporated into childcare curriculum and activities. Together, we develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors and community vitality by strengthening local food systems.
How might your provider start?
- Start and maintain a learning garden
- Taste test with locally produced foods
- Purchase food from farmers markets or CSA farms
- Take a field trip to a farm or garden
- Incorporate food-themed curriculum and activities
As a Parent, where do I start?
1. Incorporate local, healthy foods in meals and snacks.
▪ Create a positive environment
▪ Be a role model
▪ Start with small portions
▪ Positive reinforcement
▪ Keep offering new preparations of foods
2. Incorporate local food themes! Small twists on what you're already doing! Activities such as planting seeds in the garden. Making art with vegetables, learning about parts of plants, colors, and math with fruits and vegetables. Have fun and use existing resources!
3. Field Trips to farms!
▪ Visit Farms.
▪ Create a potted plant area or garden.
▪ Visit apple orchards or go berry picking.
Growing a Green Generation
130-page pdf Gardening activities for pre-k; garden basics, experiments, arts and crafts, games.
The Benefits and How-to of Serving Family-Style Meals
Support Child care staff, and engage your kids.
Lana: Learning About Nutrition Through Ativities
Activity themes to use at home.
Harvest for Healthy Kids Activity Kits
Each kit has activities for a specific produce.
Cultivating Joy and Wonder: Sustainability through Nature, Food and Community
274 page pdf, containing a lot of activities for child cares that can also be used at home.
Building a Garden For Preschoolers
Life Lab School Garden Resources
Using the Garden as an Education Tool
Creating a Square Foot Garden
Starting a garden: Tips and planting dates for MN produce
Childhood in the Garden: A place to encounter natural & cultural diversity
Kid-friendly Healthy Recipe Collections
Leap of Taste 32 weeks of breakfast and lunch recipes
Healthy Snacks and Physical Activities for Early Childhood Programs
Snacks That Count: Recipes for Nutritious Snacks
Learning About Nutrition Through Activities: Cooking Activities
Farm to Child Care Weekly Seasonal Menu (18 weeks)
Nutrition and Wellness Tips for CACFP by USDA Team Nutrition
Finding Local Foods
Minnesota Grown Directory of Farms.
Minnesota Grown CSA FinderLocal Harvest CSA's, farms, farmers markets
Land Stewardship CSA Directory
Local Foods College resource locator & interactive map
Pride of the Prairie Local Food Guide
Farmers Market Locator MN Farmers Market Association’s
Eat Wild MN local wild foods. Beneficial for health.
Food Safety and Selection at the Farmers Market by the University of Nebraska
List of Books in RTC's collection.
"Healthy Snacks and Physical Activites." On page 53-55, is a list of books.
Here are some Parent Engagement factsheets!
“Enjoy the Benefits of Family-Style Meals.” Page 22
“How do I teach my kids about Good Nutrition?” Page 23
“Keep Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Safe, Avoid the ‘six common mistakes.’” Page 24
“Your Child is Watching! You are a Role Model for Eating.” Page 25
“Quick Ideas for Healthy Meals and Snacks.” Page 26
"How to help kids who are picky eaters." By Rachel Ehmke
How can I get my child care provider on board?
Ask your child care provider: have they considered using local, healthy food in their meals? Do they have a garden space to learn about gardening? Have they incorporated nutrition into the learning environment? Have they experienced new/different food?
Encourage them to begin to learn more about or incorporate Farm to Early Care and Education practices, and let them know you’re supporting it at home!
Suppose your provider has not heard of F2ECE.Tell them there is a professional development class called “Farm to Child Care.” It meets the Parent Aware requirements for nutrition and offers up to 5 in-service hours in the Minnesota Core Competency Content Area of health, safety, and nutrition for child care providers.
To find a training near them, they can visit the Develop website and search for ‘Farm to Child Care. ‘ It will be located in the nutrition section. Or check out our website below for more information!