FARM TO EARLY CARE and EDUCATION

Local food, gardening, hands-on learning, and family engagement

Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) offers increased access to healthy, local foods, gardening opportunities, and food-based activities to enhance the educational experience in all types of ECE settings (e.g. preschools, child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start/Early Head Start, programs in K-12 school districts).

Rooted is proudly developing free Wisconsin farm to ECE resources for ECE providers, support organizations, food service staff, and food producers in the state. This work is made possible thanks to funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Here, you will find resources from Rooted and our farm to ECE partners that aim to facilitate and empower all ECE sites to increase access to local foods, improve the nutrition environment, and enhance educational opportunities for children through hands-on learning and play in food and nutrition, inclusion of local foods in meals and snacks, planting and tending to gardens, and family engagement opportunities.

Resources

Featured Books, Trainings, and Publications

This online video training covers planning and establishing a youth garden, tips on involving children in the garden, and lesson plans and activities using garden produce. It was updated in 2019 to include recommendations for gardening with children ages 0-5. Registry credit is available (1.5 credits).

Offered by Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.

The Policy Equity Group logo

These two resources developed by The Policy Equity Group align farm to ECE strategies with one of the most widely used ECE curricula — the Creative Curriculum®.

New to gardening? Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services’ Nutrition and Physical Activity program developed this resource for beginning gardeners to assist with starting and maintaining school, community, and child care gardens. Also available in Spanish.

This ECE edition of the original “Got Veggies?” resource provides developmentally appropriate lessons and activities for children ages five and under.

This guide based on current scientific evidence provides a self-assessment for ECE programs to assess their own environment, program policies, and practices with regard to nutrition and farm to ECE.

This publication by Nathan Larson conveys best practices in garden-based education along with evidence-based strategies, beautiful, inspiring artwork, and quotes from real children in the garden. It is sure to convince anyone of the benefits of gardening with children. Also available in Spanish.

ECE Partner Websites

Several of our partners have free resources available on their websites
Information and resources for all components of farm to ECE, both nationally and Wisconsin-specific.
The Wisconsin School Garden Network supports new and existing gardens and youth education programs, and host a website with extensive resources for gardening with children of all ages.

Wisconsin Farm to ECE Survey

The first Wisconsin farm to ECE provider and support organization surveys aimed to establish baseline data for farm to ECE participation including existing farm to ECE activities already taking place and what trainings and resources could help sites grow farm to ECE. The survey also assessed support organization staff knowledge and understanding of farm to ECE.