Growing the Farm to Early Care and Education Movement

Farm to early care and education is an incredibly promising community-based solution that nurtures young children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development; improves community nutrition; and builds sustainable local food systems.

Through growing, eating and learning about farm-fresh food in early care and education settings, farm to early care and education programs connect young children with local food production and healthy eating.

Across the country, providers, local farmers, community organizations, state agencies and other partners are coming together to develop successful farm to early care and education programs. By working across systems and linking health, education and agriculture, they are addressing intersecting inequities and nourishing children, families and communities.

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“Farm to early care and education is more than just having a garden outside. It’s weaving it into day-to-day education as far as teaching children about their ABCs and 123s. When you really get into it, it’s about racial equity. … It’s about growing the community. We want families to be able to grow and share food and these areas that were food insecure to not be anymore.”

Shironda Brown, Center for Environmental Farming Systems in North Carolina

Our Five-Year, Five-State Investment

Since 2015, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation invested more than $18 million to support state partners in Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and funded technical assistance through the National Farm to School Network and Policy Equity Group to build a vibrant network of farm to early care and education programs. Our focus has been on developing capacity within each state and creating tools and resources for sharing farm to early care and education models across the country.

The collaborative and community-based work in each state has helped grow the farm to early care and education movement. Now, all of us can play a role in building on this momentum to further spread farm to early care and education nationwide.

At the Kellogg Foundation, we work to ensure children and families are nourished by healthy food at home, in early care and education and at school by supporting equitable and sustainable community food systems. Our five-year, five-state pilot in the farm to early care and education movement provides a blueprint for other states to accelerate its adoption as a key strategy to improve learning, child nutrition and health.

Linda Jo Doctor, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

New Resources To Expand Farm To Early Care And Education

Based on the opportunities, challenges and lessons we’ve learned from our community and grantee partners, we created a set of resources to bolster and broaden farm to early care and education initiatives.

Policy Briefs

A four-part series of policy briefs that overviews farm to early care and education, and describes opportunities in coalition building, procurement and resourcing to expand farm to early care and education – benefiting children, providers, local farmers and communities. Learn how policymakers can play a role.

Swipe next to take a deeper look at the briefs.

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State Stories
The stories highlight the collaborative partnerships among providers, farmers, community organizations and state agencies that are building successful farm to early care and education initiatives. Read about their efforts to improve high-quality early learning, support children’s well-being and build resilient, local food systems.
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A Toolkit To Promote These Resources

Farm to school programs have been immensely successful in kindergarten through 12th grade settings. We have the opportunity to support similar success starting even younger with farm to early care and education.

Use this toolkit to reach policymakers, funders, community-based organizations and other partners who are vital to supporting farm to early care and education. The toolkit includes how-to tips, sample social media and email content, and links to the resources.

For More Information

Farm to early care and education requires collaboration across various sectors and partners. Each holds a piece of the puzzle in creatively and strategically finding ways to make farm to early care and education a possibility for young children, families, early care and education providers, local farmers and food producers, and communities.

Please visit our grantee partners’ website for more resources and information, or reach out to us at communications@wkkf.org to learn more.

National Partners

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