Kids at Eagan New Horizon Academy Childcare Center were among the first participants in IATP's Farm to Child Care pilot program. Read the full story below.
Photo courtesy of Erin McKee, IATP

In this issue:
  • Save the Date! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, April 2014
  • It's menu planning time! Options for purchasing local food
  • Case study: Farm to Child Care pilot yields early success
  • Book recommendation: An Earthworm's Life

Save the Date! National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: April 15-18, 2014

The National Farm to School Network is excited to announce that the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will take place April 15 - 18, 2014 in Austin, Texas!

The conference, held every-other year, brings together local food systems advocates, food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs, students and others who are breaking down barriers and expanding the impact of the Farm to Cafeteria movement across the country. Farm to Preschool practitioners are encouraged to attend! Short courses and field trips will be offered April 15 and the general program will take place April 16-18.

Information regarding the conference program, registration, lodging and more will be posted in the coming months on farmtocafeteriaconference.org. Explore the website now to learn more about last year's great speakers, workshops and special events. Farm to Preschool (including all early care and education settings) will be incorporated throughout the upcoming conference. You won't want to miss Austin in 2014!

It's menu planning time! Options for purchasing locally

Farmers are in the midst of planning and planting, and summer and fall are the easiest times to buy fresh, local foods. If you are interested in incorporating more local foods into meals and snacks, now is the time to make your plan for local purchasing. Preschools and early care settings buy local foods in a wide variety of ways:

  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): CSA boxes work well for smaller or in-home care providers who are able to cook with fresh products that are dropped off weekly in a CSA box.
  • Cooperative Buying: Partnering with other early care sites to buy in bulk from a farm or distributor often lowers costs.
  • Farm Direct: Buying directly from a farmer is often a good option for centers that need product delivered in large quantities.
  • Farmers' Market Direct: Some sites are able to meet their needs by shopping at a nearby farmers' market, or by arranging in advance to pick up larger orders at the market.
  • Distribution Company: Many distributors carry products from local farmers. Ask your distributor where they source their food, and request local options!

For more information on procurement models, visit our website.

Farm to Child Care pilot yields early success

Initial findings from a Farm to Child Care pilot project conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) have yielded encouraging results. The project included menu innovations, age-appropriate curriculum, parent outreach, and rigorous evaluation at 14 childcare sites. An in-depth guide to replicating the program will be available soon. In the meantime, read more about their initial findings on their blog.

Book recommendation: An Earthworm's Life

Use this simple book, An Earthworm's Life, by John Himmelman, to teach children about the life cycle of the earthworm, and why they are important in our gardens and on our farms.

Don't forget!

Visit our website for tons of Farm to Preschool resources and information. You can also submit your own events, news, or materials: farmtopreschool.org

 

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