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Connect with your state

Farm to school is taking place in all 50 states, D.C. and U.S. Territories! Select a location from the list below to learn more or contact a Core Partner. 

National Farm to School Network

Farm to Early Care and Education

Cultivating healthy habits for our littlest eaters

A Vision for Farm to Early Care and Education

As a leader and national convener in the farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) movement, NFSN aims to support the development of vibrant and equitable, community-based food systems and enhance the health and wellbeing of young children and their families through comprehensive farm to ECE initiatives. NFSN works to achieve this aim by (1) broadly sharing information and resources; (2) promoting state, regional, and national networking; and (3) supporting advocacy efforts.

To meet these objectives, National Farm to School Network convenes the Farm to Early Care and Education Working Group, a cohort of experienced leaders and stakeholders in the field that work collaboratively in identifying and addressing barriers and strategic opportunities to further the national farm to early care and education movement.

The National Farm to School Network Farm to Early Care and Education Working Group’s vision for the future of farm to early care and education:
Racial Equity and Justice:
Farm to ECE initiatives are a key leverage point to advancing racial and social equity.

ECE Environments:
All ECE environments include:
  • Access to healthy, affordable, and culturally relevant local foods:
  • Gardening; and
  • Food, nutrition, and agriculture education
Comprehensive farm to ECE initiatives are a tool to:
  • Enhance the quality of ECE settings;
  • Engage families and communities;
  • Support comprehensive child development; and
  • Meet learning and programmatic standards.
Food Systems:
Farm to ECE initiatives support development of:
  • The next generation of responsible food consumers; and
  • Sustainable, equitable, and just local food systems.

ECE Professional Development:
Information, resources, and supports empower all ECE providers to implement culturally relevant and reflective farm to ECE initiatives.

Collaboration and Community Engagement:
Diverse stakeholders and sectors engage in collaboratively advancing farm to ECE programs and policy at the local, state, tribal, and national level.

Read more about the 2020 Farm to Early Care and Education Working Group’s Vision and Key Strategies to Advance Farm to Early Care and Education.
Read More

The National Farm to School Network’s early care and education work is supported in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

What is farm to early care and education?

Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) offers increased access to the same three core elements of local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education to enhance the quality of 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). Farm to ECE offers benefits that parallel the goals and priorities of the early care and education community including emphasis on experiential learning opportunities, parent and community engagement and life-long health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.

NFSN Farm to Early Care and Education Webinar Archive

The quarterly Farm to ECE Webinars presented by NFSN offer in-depth discussions, case studies and tools and tips for implementing farm to ECE at multiple levels. 

Watch Archived Webinars:
Bringing Local to Our Littlest Eaters: In this webinar, speakers from NFSN, USDA and MSU CRFS share tips for getting started, strategies for success and innovative models that are scaling local purchasing practices in ECE settings.

Celebrating Cultural Diversity with Farm to Early Care and Education
: This webinar focus on celebrating and connecting with diverse cultures and communities through farm to ECE initiatives.

Farm to Early Care and Education in Head Start – A Natural Alignment: Explore the National Farm to School Network’s new resource, Growing Head Start Success with Farm to Early Care and Education and hear from Head Start practitioners about best practices and successes in implementing farm to ECE in the Head Start setting.

Success in State Level Partnerships: This webinar offers insight into ECE agencies and organizations, and highlights opportunities for state level partnerships to advance farm to school in ECE environments. Speakers from USDA CACFP, Child Care Aware of America and the Iowa Head Start Collaboration Office share their work and answer questions.

Exploring the Good Food, Great Kids Project: This webinar recording shares highlights of the Good Food, Great Kids project, which developed a series of case studies on the emerging benefits of farm to ECE.

Statewide Farm to ECE Network Building: This webinar shares farm to ECE network models two states and highlights keys to success in building a statewide farm to ECE networks. 

State Agencies as Leaders and Partners in Growing Farm to ECE: This webinar explores the variety of ways that state agencies across the country are leading the way in farm to ECE.

Getting Started

For more information, contact: 

Lacy Stephens
NFSN Senior Program Manager, Farm to ECE

Join the National Farm to School Network to stay up to date on the latest news, resources and opportunities to help farm to early care and education grow in your community.

Contact your National Farm to School Network State Core Partner to get involved in your state’s farm to school activities.