Farm to CACFP
Early childhood is the ideal time to establish healthy eating habits. Farm to Early Care and Education works to connect early child care and education settings to local food producers with the objectives of serving locally-grown, healthy foods to young children, providing related nutrition education, and improving child nutrition. Farm to CACFP activities can increase children’s willingness to try new foods and help them become familiar with local foods they will see in school. Farm to CACFP creates a reliable outlet for producers and the smaller purchasing volumes for early child care settings are a good fit for local farmers.
- Farm to CACFP – USDA Resources
- CACFP Menu with Best Practices – Sample menu with best practices to incorporate seasonal and locally grown foods into meals.
- Where Does My Food Come From? Early Childcare Booklist – Books about fruits and vegetables and trying new foods for children to about where their food comes from.
- Local Food Coordinators – ISU Extension Local Food Coordinators support the development of local food systems by making connections between growers and child care.
- Iowa Farm to ECE Toolkit – Classroom tools, food purchasing guides, and other resources.
- Farm to Preschool Fact Sheet – USDA Resource
- Farm to Preschool Network – Resources on how to start a program, parent materials, gardens, seasonal menus and recipes, and local food procurement.
- Seasonal Produce Guide – USDA guide identifying different fruits and vegetables available throughout the year due to growing conditions and weather.
- Grow It, Try It, Like It! Garden-Based Nutrition Education for Curriculum for Preschoolers
- Family Newsletters: When families and child care providers share consistent nutrition messages with children, they are more likely to develop healthy eating habits. Share these 12 Grow It, Try It, Like It! newsletters with families to reinforce exploring new foods at home. Cantaloupe; Crookneck Squash; Growing Great Food Tasters; Grow It, Try it, Like It; Handwashing; Mystery Box; Peaches; Picky Eater; Polite Food Tasting; Spinach; Strawberries, and Sweet Potatoes.
- Gardening with CACFP Video – Created by Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral: Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc.
- Grow It, Try It, Like It! Webinar – Children love to use their senses with new fruits and vegetables that they have had a hand in growing! The webinar features creative ways to grow fruits and vegetables at your childcare.
- Iowa Farm to CACFP Online Module (1 hr training credit) – Topics include Starting a Garden, Field Trips and Special Guests, Incorporating Nutrition Education, How to Purchase Local Foods, and Menus and Recipes.
- Food Safety from Farm and Garden to Preschool – Free online training program sponsored by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that can be completed to count toward annual CACFP training. Each Unit includes videos, interactive activities such as sharing boards, and the creation of best practices planning tools. Topics include Farm to Preschool Benefits, Fresh Produce and Foodborne Illness Risks, and Food Safety Basics.
- Farm to CACFP Webinar – Overview provided by Iowa Team Nutrition in partnership with Iowa State Extension and Outreach and Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness.