Farm to Early Care and Education Grantee Programs

OVERALL VISION

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

PROGRAM GOAL

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

ASPHN STRATEGY

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.

CABBAGE

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.

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FIG

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.

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MINI COIIN

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.

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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.

CABBAGE – CAPACITY BUILDING GRANT

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (EMU) is working with a Burmese immigrant and refugee population in Battle Creek, MI.  EMU is working with ECE teachers to integrate Farm to ECE curricula, build an ECE garden, and incorporate local foods into an ECE at the Burma Center.

NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF MICHIGAN (NKFM) is working with African American and Latinx residents in Wayne, Westland, and Inkster, MI by providing trainings, peer-to-peer learning and collective problem solving to increase Farm to ECE knowledge, identify and support their Farm to ECE goals, and increase local food purchasing.

PARTNERSHIP FOR HEALTHY LINCOLN (PHL) is redressing health disparities in African American and Hispanic communities in Lincoln, NE. PHL is helping ECEs integrate state-specific Harvest of the Month tastings, indoor and outdoor gardens, farmer connections and Farm to ECE-related family engagement.

RAO COMMUNITY HEALTH is partnering with individuals and businesses in low-income African American communities within Mecklenburg County, NC to improve community access to fresh produce. Within CABBAGE, RAO is helping a local ECE implement Farm to ECE engage families, develop an accessible garden and connect the work to local resources.

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.

FIG – IMPLEMENTATION GRANT

COLORADO’s Farm to ECE coalition is serving populations historically impacted by inequitable access to healthy foods. They are offering trainings to ECE providers about Farm to ECE and gardening and to Master Gardeners on understanding the ECE setting. The team is also developing a state-specific Farm to ECE guide, road map and trainings for farmers and stakeholders.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA is establishing an interagency, multi-stakeholder Farm to ECE coalition and working with the coalition and providers to create a training and technical assistance system for Farm to ECE. The team is working with food systems partners to increase ECE food products grown and offering ECEs resources to engage families.

IOWA is piloting a CACFP Local Food Procurement Incentive program, “Local Food Makes Cents: For Iowa Kids and Farmers.” The team is advocating for related legislation and connecting ECEs to the “Choose Iowa Food of the Month” campaign. Additionally, the team is building a racial equity framework to assess and inform network strategies, annually.

MICHIGAN is expanding the use of Go NAP SACC Farm to ECE and a corresponding Farm to ECE TA and training system. The team is connecting ECEs, food producers, and stakeholders with regional networking events, expanding farm to ECE materials on their website, piloting local purchasing in ECEs, and strengthening capacity to address inequities.

MINNESOTA is integrating ECE providers into their Farm to ECE network, educating state policymakers on the value of adding ECEs to the state’s local food reimbursement program, and increasing Farm to ECE programs with greater Farm to ECE online training access. 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.

MISSISSIPPI is establishing a statewide Farm to ECE committee and building a Farm to ECE strategic plan. The team is also developing statewide Farm to ECE resources, building a Farm to ECE webpage, and managing a mini grant program. The state will host farmer and ECE networking events, trainings, and materials to foster ECE providers’ connections to local food producers.

NEW MEXICO is building an alliance to support a procurement policy and incentivized procurement system for the state, a communication and promotion plan, an alignment of Farm to ECE with the QRIS indicators, networking opportunities and recognition for farmers and ECE providers, and a certified grower list for ECEs. In addition, New Mexico will offer accessible trainings, a pilot program, and resources in English, Spanish, and Navajo.

NORTH CAROLINA‘s Farm to Preschool Network disseminated a statewide Farm to ECE assessment, is promoting Farm to ECE success stories, is integrating racial equity into state strategies, and is releasing a co-developed food preparation and gardening guide for local foods in compliance with state Child Environmental Health sanitation rules.

OHIO‘s Farm to ECE coalition is participating in equity workshops to inform their creation of a state Farm to ECE strategy. Ohio is increasing Farm to ECE access with Farm to ECE-specific food safety materials and videos. In addition, the team is also designing and launching a Farm to ECE innovative local procurement pilot in Head Start sites.

VERMONT’s statewide Farm to ECE coalition is aligning Farm to ECE strategies with the state’s QRIS program to increase Farm to ECE accessibility, promoting engagement, and supporting ECE program quality among early childhood providers. The team has a new Farm to ECE website, success stories, and state-specific local purchasing toolkits for both ECEs and food producers.

WASHINGTON Farm to ECE statewide coalition is developing comprehensive online Farm to ECE trainings and a self-assessment for providers, connecting with Tribal communities to learn from and highlight their efforts and increase culturally-responsive Farm to ECE materials, monitoring state-level policy, educating policymakers about the value of Farm to ECE initiatives, and developing success stories.

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.

MINI COIIN – COLLABORATIVE IMPROVEMENT & INNOVATION NETWORKS – 2021 State Participants

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.

Farm to ECE Resources

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.

ASPHNs farm to ECE grantee programs are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of cooperative agreement number NU38OT000279-04. These projects, along with many others, are funded through this cooperative agreement that totals $3,245,000. One hundred percent of these projects are 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 website 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 United States (US).

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