Farm to school isn't just for school-age children: Good nutrition and food education are perhaps even more important for our littlest learners. That's where farm to preschool comes in.
Farm to preschool is a natural extension of the farm to school model, and works to connect early care and education settings (preschools, Head Start, center-based programs, programs in K-12 school districts, and family child care programs) to local food producers.
Farm to preschool implementation includes the same core elements as farm to school. Farm to preschool differs by location but always includes one or more of the following:
- Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served at mealtime or as a snack or taste test;
- Education: Children participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition; and
- School gardens: Children engage in hands-on learning through gardening.
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN) began working to expand its robust farm to school networks and expertise to include early child care settings in 2011. Since then, NFSN has acted as a lead convener and facilitator for the farm to preschool movement, providing vision, leadership, and support at state, regional, and national levels. Visit our new farm to preschool landing page for more information.
Many organizations across the country are developing fantastic farm to preschool resources. One of the latest and greatest is this toolkit created by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. In addition to a farm to preschool overview, the new toolkit includes the following pages full of information, links, resources, and ideas to support farm to preschool programs in any location:
Do you have a great resource or a story about farm to preschool success? Share it with us for a chance to win a drawing for $1,000.