Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day has been celebrated each April 22nd since 1970. It is a day focused on support for environmental protection. Environmental conservation and land stewardship are so integral to many things Renewing the Countryside as a whole is focused on, and farm to early care is no exception. Farm to early care can be part of growing the next generation of dedicated environmental stewards. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting your hands in the soil, reading a great book about conservation, or supporting a local farmer who cares for the land? 

Some places to find great Earth Day activities for kids:   

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Gardens, Bees, and Books

There are several fairly new and wonderful books related to gardening. If you are searching for books for kids, read on for some of our new favorites! 

Jayden's Impossible Garden is a brand new, truly lovely book written by Minnesota author Mélina Mangal, illustrated by Ken Daley. This book talks about finding nature wherever you are, and the potential for growth and beauty in so many spaces. See the author read the book aloud here
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Planting Sage

Did you know you can grow sage from any fresh sage stems? It's simple:  

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CSA Season

We are solidly in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) sign up season. Purchasing a CSA provides a regular box of produce from a local farmer or group of farmers. CSAs are a wonderful way to help young children engage with delicious local produce. They can also give us all an opportunity to try preparing and eating foods we might be unfamiliar with (or might just not purchase at the grocery store)! 

 

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Snow, Seeds, and Planning for Spring!

Spring sure seems a long way off, at least here in snowy Minnesota. But seed starting will be here before you know it! 

 

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Kids in the Kitchen

We know exploring and preparing food is a great way to increase kids' understanding about and interest in trying new foods. However, just because it's a good idea doesn't mean it's always easy to do! But the good news is, there are lots of tips and resources for how to get kids of all ages involved in the kitchen. Here are just a few:

1. Rinsing fruits and vegetables, transferring, mixing: these can be easy ways to get the youngest kids involved. While it adds another step, try measuring into a kid-safe container, then letting kids add spices or other ingredients to a recipe. They can also transfer ingredients - for example, chopped veggies into a bowl. Check out this resource from Growing Minds for ideas of what different ages of children can do, as well as some recipes and tips! 

 

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Giving Thanks

A holiday that is for many centered on food and giving thanks is a great place to think about farm to early care. De-Colonizing Your Thanksgiving Curriculum has content relevant to many ages (and us adults who are unlearning and re-learning). Check out the slides at the bottom for integrated links to resources. They mention that with the youngest learners, gratitude and food is a great entry point. 

The providers we worked with to provide CSAs this summer thought about gratitude a lot with their kids. Some providers talked about the CSA box as a gift from the farmer, or that "farmers grew this just for you!". Danette and the kids she cares for made thank you notes for the farmers - what a great way to think about gratitude with early care and school-age kids! 

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Introducing Pint Size Produce!

Like many of you, we have been working to figure out how we can work in new and different ways, in many times from afar. Over the years, providers and other farm to early care supporters have indicated a desire for more 'grab and go' resources for providers. To that end, we've created 'Pint Size Produce' for providers, families, or anyone that wants to explore local food with young kids! 

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Save those Seeds!

Aside from their versatility, yummy flavor, pretty colors, and vitamin richness, squash packs another big benefit: their seeds! This time of year, even giant pumpkins make for delicious roasted pumpkin seeds. Check out an easy recipe here.

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Apples for Early Care

 

Did you know? October is Farm to School and Farm to Early Care month! One of the great activities that takes place in October is the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, happening next Thursday, October 8th.

In Minnesota, we are lucky to have many great orchards, and so many delicious apples. Each year, 20 million pounds of apples are produced in Minnesota orchards. Check out https://minnesotagrown.com/apples/ to find a local orchard near you, or look for local apples in the grocery store. 

Once you've got your local apple, join us to crunch and check out some of my favorite little-person-friendly apple resources below! 

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