Blue's Blog October 2019
October 7, 2019 - pdf version
Hi everyone! Did you know that October is Farm to School Month? Well, since I didn’t know a lot about Farm to School or for us, Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE), I reached out to my friends Caroline Stover at the NC Farm to ECE Initiative, part of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (https://cefs.ncsu.edu/food-system-initiatives/nc-farm-to-early-care-and-education/) and Lynn Policastro with Wake County Smart Start to learn more.
From talking to Caroline, I learned that Farm to Early Care and Education (Farm to ECE) enhances the health and education of young children by developing systems and experiential learning that connects children and their families with local food and farms. It includes any type of activities in ECE environments that incorporate local foods through meals and snacks, taste tests, lessons, farmer visits, cooking, growing food, and/or community and parent involvement.
Lynn shares that, “As programs have made Farm to ECE part of their everyday culture at their center, I have seen children be able to learn from being exposed to fresh local foods. I have seen children learning math skills from being able to pick and weigh the produce from their garden, gaining strength and motor skills by harvesting the produce, improving fine motor skills from preparing the produce and most importantly finding new food preferences by trying items from their garden or local farmer.”
Two of our favorite resources to get programs started with Farm to ECE activities and local food connections are the NC Farm to Preschool toolkit on the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Growing Minds website and the Wake County Smart Start Farm to Child Care Toolkit.
If you are planning to take part in farm to early care and education, we encourage you to connect with others across the state and learn as much as you can, by joining the NC Farm to Preschool Network and subscribing to their monthly newsletter. Also, to get started, join our statewide network and have your whole school or class crunch on a local food for the Apple Crunch on October 23! It will be the crunch heard round the world!
My clubhouse friends and I have a lot of other ideas and resources that will help the children in your life build strong minds and bodies like us! Visit our website at www.beactivekids.org to stay connected to the latest resources. See you in November!