Welcome to Taking Root!
You are reading the first e-newsletter of the Farm to Preschool Subcommittee of the National Farm to School Network (NFSN). Taking Root will include updates on the Subcommittee, along with Farm to Preschool case studies, upcoming events, resources, policy updates, and more.

Our definition of Farm to Preschool is intentionally broad, encompassing any early care program which contains some amount of local food education or purchasing. Many preschools and childcare centers are already implementing these activities, with or without the Farm to Preschool name. Visit our website to learn more!

Who's involved?
The Farm to Preschool Subcommittee was formed in 2011 to support the growing interest in Farm to Preschool programming from many diverse stakeholders. The Subcommittee, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is comprised of 24 key national stakeholders, including representatives from the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.

This initiative is co-led by Emily Jackson, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and Southeast Regional Lead for the NFSN, Zoë Phillips, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, and Stacey Sobell, Ecotrust and Western Regional Lead for the NFSN. Each of the three co-leads have conducted Farm to Preschool pilot programs in the past and/or at present.

Key Farm to Preschool Initiatives
Subcommittee members are in the midst of the following projects, intended to further the Farm to Preschool movement:

  • Launching the Farm to Preschool website: We’re excited to announce that the Farm to Preschool website launched this month! Keep coming back for new resources, stories, and information.
  • Presenting at the 2012 Farm to Cafeteria Conference: The Subcommittee will lead a workshop at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference this summer in Burlington, Vermont.Join us for Farm to Preschool: Taking Root Across the Nation, designed to be informative and interactive.
  • Conducting a national survey of programs: We're working to establish baseline data about the types and quantity of Farm to Preschool programs that are currently in existence. A link to this survey will be sent out soon!
  • Conducting research and evaluation: Currently supporting the national survey of programs, the research and evaluation team will strategize around priority topics for future research and evaluation.
  • Engaging farmers and food producers: We are committed to maintaining the perspective of farmers and food producers as an integral piece of this initiative. Are you a farmer who has worked with preschools? Please e-mail info@farmtopreschool.org for more information.
  • Developing pre-service training for Farm to Preschool teachers: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is working with local community colleges and universities to integrate local food and farm-based instruction into pre-service early childhood and elementary education programs. Read more about their program here (PDF).
  • Spreading the word and growing the movement: You can help grow this network and expand its reach! Spread the word about Farm to Preschool, and invite your friends and colleagues to join the Farm to Preschool listserv. Please e-mail info@farmtopreschool.org for more information.

Welcome, again, to our first Farm to Preschool e-news! We look forward to sharing updates, resources, events, and stories with you in the months to come.

–Emily, Stacey, Zoë, and the Farm to Preschool Subcommittee

 

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