Farm to Early Care and Education Grantee Programs


To increase the number of early care and education (ECE) settings with successful Farm to ECE initiatives. 


To support states and communities in the development and growth of sustainable, equitable, comprehensive Farm to ECE initiatives. 


To provide guidance and leadership to participating states and communities through partner engagement, resources, trainings, networking, and custom technical assistance. 

Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) programs are an innovative evidence-based approach that give young children increased exposure and access to local produce, opportunities to learn about nutrition and agriculture, and hands-on learning through gardening. 

Learn more about these efforts and the many benefits they provide including:

  • SHAPING HEALTHY HABITS FOR LIFE. Farm to ECE activities, like taste tests, cooking lessons, and gardening, offer repeated exposures to new, healthy foods, promoting lifelong healthy food preferences and eating patterns.
  • FAMILY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. Gardening and food-related activities are popular among families and create more opportunities for meaningful family engagement.
  • STRENGTHEN LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM. Purchasing local products creates market opportunities, promotes local and regional food systems, while food-based learning educates teachers and providers about healthy habits and their local food system.
  • EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION. Farm to ECE can enhance the learning environment with hands-on learning, help achieve early learning standards, and support appropriate cognitive, emotional, social and physical development.

ASPHN’s Farm to ECE Grantee Programs

ASPHN is overseeing the following three Farm to ECE grantee programs. From initiating Farm to ECE programs in REACH communities, to supporting and building capacity in states across the nation, these programs are having a positive impact in their areas.


ASPHN’s Capacity Building Grant (CABBAGE) is working with four Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) recipients to build community-level Farm to ECE initiatives.



ASPHN’s Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant (FIG) is funding farm to ECE work with 10 states and the District of Columbia to strengthen their state-level Farm to ECE initiatives with a specific equity focus.



ASPHN completed a 3-year mini CoIIN or Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network with 5 states (CO, AZ, AL, MN and OH) to further their Farm to ECE activities.


Farm To ECE Capacity Building Grant

With funding from CDC-DNPAO and in collaboration with National Farm to School Network (NFSN), ASPHN’s CABBAGE is offering a technical assistance (TA) and funding opportunity for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) recipients to learn about and initiate local farm to ECE programs. The goal of this opportunity is to increase the quality of local ECE settings and increase access to healthy food and environments for young children.


EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (EMU) is working with immigrant and refugee populations in Battle Creek, MI. EMU is working with ECEs to integrate Farm to ECE curricula into lesson plans, build ECE gardens, and increase local foods offered in the ECE. They helped ECEs connect to local foods by supporting CSA delivery boxes and build Farm to ECE gardens. EMU’s work in 2 ECEs has impacted 96 children and 18 educators.

NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF MICHIGAN (NKFM) is working with Black and Latinx residents in 3 MI counties. NKFM is offering trainings, peer-to-peer learning, and collective problem solving to increase Farm to ECE knowledge, goal attainment, and local food purchasing. NKFM is also increasing ECE local food access by connecting them to local Black farmers and the 10 Cents a Meal reimbursement program. NKFM’s work in 4 ECEs has impacted 96 children and 15 educators.

PARTNERSHIP FOR HEALTHY LINCOLN (PHL) is redressing health disparities in Black and Hispanic communities in Lincoln, NE. PHL is helping ECEs create Harvest of the Month tastings, indoor and outdoor gardens, farmer connections and Farm to ECE-related family engagement. Additionally, PHL is working on making local food purchasing and delivery easy for farmers and ECEs. Their work in 4 ECEs has impacted 275 children, 38 educators and 5 local farmers.

Farm To ECE Implementation Grant

ASPHN’s FIG supports public health nutrition professionals by advancing Farm to ECE initiatives at the state level. The focus is to increase the capacity to facilitate long-term sustainable, comprehensive, and equitable Farm to ECE. Learn more about the states participating below.


CO’s Farm to ECE coalition serves populations historically impacted by inequitable access to healthy foods. CO’s coalition increased Farm to ECE awareness and access by creating a Farm to Child Website, Roadmap, Guide, 12 ECE pilots sites, trainings, and over 30 other resources, in multiple languages for food producers, educators, gardeners and stakeholders. Colorado has directly impacted 71 ECEs, over 1,400 children and 160 educators.

DC established a Farm to ECE coalition and valuable ECE educator subgroup. Working with the coalition and subgroup, DC created and translated resources, held trainings, and distributed local food, to make Farm to ECE accessible. Resources include Produce 101 Guide and Videos, Cook Camps, and “What’s in Your Bag” weekly posts with information on distributed local produce. DC’s successful food distribution delivered over 56,000 pounds of food to ECEs and families in 7mo.

IA Farm to School & Early Care Coalition piloted a Local Food Incentive program, “Local Food Makes Cents: For Iowa Kids and Farmers”, increasing CACFP reimbursements for 27 ECEs. Over $30,000 was purchased in local foods from 73 farmers, resulting in improved local food access for 500 families. The pilot’s success secured $1 million in state funding for Farm to ECE from 2022-2024, benefiting children across Iowa.

MI expanded and strengthened Farm to ECE statewide with free online trainings, a Michigan Farm to ECE Network Website, new resources, the Michigan Grow More Award, and a monthly newsletter. The team also created an equity plan, regional networking events to connect ECEs and farmers, and a local purchasing pilot in 31 ECEs in 17 counties. MI’s work has impacted over 1,200 children, 141 ECEs and 619 educators.

MN is raising Farm to ECE awareness, educating state policymakers on adding ECEs to MN’s local food reimbursement program, and increasing Farm to ECE programs. The team created greater training access, a Farm to ECE website, a newsletter, mini grant program, and networking Lunch n’ Learns. The team is also ensuring this work addresses issues of food access using GIS mapping to identify ECEs with the greatest healthy food access challenges.

MS established a statewide Farm to ECE committee, strategic plan, resources, webpage, mini grant program prioritizing Black-owned farms, and technical assistance program. MS fostered food producer and educator partnerships by hosting farmer and ECE networking events and opportunities. MS has impacted 1,280 children, 32 ECEs and 78 educators; and their data indicates that 93% of ECEs improved the quality of their childcare environments after participating in Farm to ECE.

NM expanded an interagency local food purchasing system and coalition, NM Grown coalition. The coalition supports local procurement policies and an incentivized procurement system for the state. The NM team supports this work with a Farm to ECE pilot program, trainings, networking opportunities, resources, Golden Chile recognition program, certified grower list, and, translated Spanish and Navajo resources. They have impacted over 1,300 children, 22 ECEs and 230 educators.

NC‘s Farm to Preschool Network disseminated and collated the data from a statewide Farm to ECE assessment, created Farm to ECE video success stories, integrated racial equity into state strategies, developed food safety and gardening guides, translated the Farm to Preschool Toolkit into Spanish, and developed a mini grant program with ECE educators as mentors. NC’s Farm to Preschool efforts have impacted 4,218 children, 93 ECEs and 558 educators.

OH‘s Farm to ECE coalition is participating in equity workshops, creating food safety materials and videos, and implementing a local procurement pilot in ECEs. OH’s coalition created a farm to ECE equity-centered roadmap. The roadmap includes piloting Farm to ECE in 15 ECEs, serving a majority children qualifying for free or reduced lunches. The pilot has reached 1,400 children, and connected ECEs to over 15 local food producers.

VT’s Farm to ECE coalition integrated into the VT Farm to School Network and is aligning Farm to ECE strategies with the state’s early childhood systems and QRIS program. VT is also promoting engagement and expansion, with a new Farm to ECE website, success stories, a resource library, and local purchasing toolkits for ECEs and farmers. Currently, VT is working on a policy-centered strategic plan for Farm to ECE.

WA formalized the State Farm to ECE Coalition, disseminated an assessment tool, created a Farm to Child position, and expanded the Farm to ECE website to include a resource library, trainings, success stories, and dedicated webpages for Spanish language and Tribal resources. They developed a free online Farm to ECE training that’s been taken over 2,300 times. These efforts have benefitted over 9,500 children and 3,200 ECEs.

Obesity Mini Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network

The purpose of the 2019-2021 ASPHN Obesity Mini CoIIN was to support and enhance state level farm to ECE initiatives to increase access to healthy environments for young children by providing technical guidance and support for state teams.

All state teams focused on utilizing the CoIIN process to further their farm to ECE activities and had providers simultaneously include procurement and serving local food in the ECE setting, growing edible gardens, and embedding food and agricultural literacy into the content of the ECE program.


ALABAMA ran its newly developed Farm to ECE Learning Collaborative with ECE providers in more economically depressed areas of Alabama. They incorporated a mini grant opportunity into their collaborative and helped ECE providers work with Master Gardeners to develop outdoor gardens. See the Alabama Farm to ECE’s Coalition Strategic Plan.

ARIZONA integrated their comprehensive online Farm to ECE trainings on procurement, nutrition and agriculture education, and gardening into an early learning collaborative. The collaborative allowed ECE providers to participate in goal setting and complete farm to ECE assessments. Learn more about Arizona farm to school and ECE initiatives.

Our Partners

The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) is the administrative lead for this project and would like to thank the ASPHN Farm to ECE Advisory Committee. The advisory committee includes experts in farm to school/ECE programming, maternal and child health, program evaluation, CoIIN processes and public health programming support. These committee members have volunteered their time, creativity and passion to support the organization and implementation of ASPHN’s Farm to ECE grantee programs.

ASPHN’s Farm to ECE grantee programs are one of several programs supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of cooperative agreement number NU38OT000279 (total of $6,320,000). The Farm to ECE Grantee programs are 100% supported by this cooperative agreement which is funded by the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO)/ National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)/CDC/HHS. The contents of this learning session are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, DNPAO/NCCDPHP/CDC/HHS, or the U.S. government.

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