NC Farm to Early Care and Education
Farm to Early Care and Education (Farm to ECE) enhances the health and education of young children by developing systems and experiential learning that connect children and their families with local food and farms. It includes any type of activities in ECE environments that incorporate local foods through meals and snacks, taste tests, lessons, farmer visits, cooking, growing food, and/or community and parent involvement.
NC Farm to ECE connects local farms with local childcare centers to empower the development of community-based, equitable food systems. To achieve this goal, CEFS and its partner organizations assist in developing food procurement systems, connecting resources and people across food systems and early childhood education, and providing children with experiential ways to engage with food.
NC Farm to ECE seeks to create an equitable food system to ensure that children, regardless of geographic location, race, gender, and socio-economic status, are introduced to and have access to local and healthy food.
To sustain this work, this initiative integrates aspects of Farm to ECE within existing and well-established organizations conducting outreach and training for both childcare facilities and producers, such as NC Cooperative Extension and the NC Partnership for Children.
This initiative helps to lead the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network and serves on the Farm to Early Care and Education Work Group of National Farm to School Network. To learn more and connect your center or ECE program to the movement, visit the NC Farm to Preschool Network page and subscribe to the network newsletter!
- NC Cooperative Extension Farm to Childcare webpage
- Growing Minds Website for free activity, book, and curriculum ideas
- More information on the Farm to Preschool Network and the Reach for the Stars curriculum which aligns Farm to ECE activities with ECERS
- Michigan State Center for Regional Food Systems
- Wake County Farm to Child Care Toolkit
- Farm to Early Care and Education Local Food Purchasing Guide
NC Farm to Early Care and Education News
The NC Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative Connects Local Farms and Early Childhood Education Centers Throughout North Carolina
Last year, CEFS was awarded a two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to focus on creating connections between farms and early childhood education centers and family child care homes in North Carolina.