Farm to Child Care: A Providers Spotlight 2

Interview with Hannah Riddle
By Cassaundra Lewis - February 20th, 2017

Hannah has been a trainer and a child care provider, currently, she works at a center where she is incorporating activities of Farm to Child Care with the kids that attend. She dreams of opening a program that encompasses the farm to table approach with a large garden for experiential learning.

“How has the Farm to Child Care training made a difference?”

 “I haven’t actually used it in practice. Before taking the class to become a trainer I hadn’t known what a CSA was or that farmers market were so plentiful with so many cultural vegetables and fruits. The seed identification activity was fun for me to learn and then to teach to other providers. Previously, I knew nothing about gardening. I joke that every plant I touched would die. But with all the resources available, and the training has helped me to learn what to do, or at least where to go to get the information I need. This is a skill you learn, and it has made me more comfortable in how to grow vegetables and herbs.”

“How did the kids respond to the activities you’ve tried?”

“I have not been able to grow a garden yet because I believe the hands-on exploration is what kids need and they don’t often get the chance to touch or play with food before they eat it. So we have played and touched raw vegetables before it gets put into their meals. Watching something grow is exciting for them, they often have so many questions, “why does it need water? Why does it take so long to grow? How does it grow?”
Last year, they were really excited to visit the pumpkin patch!”

“How was the response from the parents?”

“The nutrition aspect, they are aware of the benefits of eating healthier. This spring we will be growing a small garden. I am almost positive parents will be excited about the garden, and excited that kids will be learning something completely new. Because a garden is a gathering place, it’s a community, and everyone has a part in it.”

“Do you have any success stories or anecdotes?”

“The kids, when you invite them to talk about healthy foods, they get excited that they’re learning something important, and something that they can accomplish themselves. They’ll talk about it at random times during the day because they want to share what they’ve learned. They want to share about how healthy they are. Sometimes, it can become a competition.”

“Any activities that the kids really enjoyed, or you had a huge change in behavior after the activity?“

“Seed Identification. Learning new things, things they may have never seen before.”

“Have you had any challenges introducing Farm to Child Care?”

“Not having a garden is a big factor, part of it is because we share space with a center, and it’s more of a public space. We have had conversations about other people might vandalize it, or take things from it, so there was hesitation at first.”

“What could have been helpful to overcome them?”

“Provider’s sharing, doing a little at a time.”

“Is there anything you would like help with?”

“No, I’m good. Really the resources from the training program are great. Sharing with parents, newsletters, how to write them, what to put in them, there’s a lot there to share and reciprocate.”

“Are there any tips you could give a new provider of F2CC?”

“Go at your own pace, don’t try to do everything at once, thinking that you should. Because it could get overwhelming. Only do what you can handle.
Lastly, keep looking for more classes, to refresh your memory, because people forget things from time to time.”

If you would like more information about Farm to Child Care, swing on over to Renewing the Countryside.


Photo Resource:
Salad just tastes better fresh from the garden by Occidental Arts & Ecology Center