NC Farm to Preschool Network

The North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network uplifts early childhood
educators with inclusive resources, equitable opportunities, and diverse
partnerships to spark connections between young children and the local
foods movement. The NC F2P Network launched in 2015.

What is Farm to Preschool?

Farm to preschool includes any type of child care that incorporates local foods through one or more of the following activities: meals and snacks, taste tests, lessons, farmer visits, cooking, growing food, and/or community and parent involvement.

You can find helpful farm to preschool resources on this webpage (compiled by ASAP’s Growing Minds program) as well as through the National Farm to School Network’s website (search by Preschool/Early Care setting).

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Equity Commitment

During these times of increasing awareness of the racial inequities that exist in our country, the Advisory Committee of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network is reaffirming our commitment to the advancement of racial justice. We will prioritize equity by:

  1. Reviewing the core values of our network reflected in our mission, objectives, and goals.
  2. Seeking and sharing farm to preschool resources that are relative and inclusive.
  3. Including multiple cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives in our communications.

There are many resources available for educators and families to learn and teach children about racial equity, and we will continue to share those with you. Please let us know if you have any that we should pass along. Thank you for all you do to bring equity and justice to all children, families, and communities.

Join the Network!

Follow us on Facebook! For up to date news and resources, we encourage you to follow our work via the NC F2P Network Facebook page. Here we’ll connect you to farm to preschool and ECE partners and resources from across North Carolina. 

Sign up for the Network’s monthly newsletter to get the latest farm to preschool news compiled by our Advisory Committee members. See Subscribe Now at the bottom of this page and select “NC Farm to Preschool Network Monthly” to sign up. Click here to view a sample newsletter.

NC Farm to Preschool Network YouTube Channel

Check out our YouTube channel were you can view NC videos showcasing the array of activities, providers, children, and families served across North Carolina who are growing the farm to ECE/preschool movement in our state and supporting healthy, resilient kids, and high-quality education.

North Carolina Farm to ECE Connections

The Farm to ECE Connections Map functions as a resource for connecting childcare sites with local farmers, aiming to promote the use of locally sourced foods, build stronger connections, and contribute to the creation of healthier communities throughout North Carolina. Are you on the map yet? If not, you can register here.

Serving Local Foods in North Carolina Childcare Centers – Guidance on Food Preparation and Gardening

Updated February 2024 by the NC Farm to Preschool Network in collaboration with the Children’s Environmental Health Branch in the Division of Public Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services.

This document addresses frequently asked questions about preparing – and growing- local produce at child care facilities, with specific Child Care Sanitation Rules cited. Also included are tips for new child care facilities interested in serving fresh produce or centers making renovations to their kitchens to serve more fresh produce. View here.

NC Fresh Produce Purchasing and Prep Guides –

Tools for Childcare Providers

Ever wondered how many tomatoes to purchase and prepare for 25 4-year-olds at lunch? These user-friendly guides do the purchasing and prep calculations for you and take away the guesswork!

We know that caregivers want to offer more fresh vegetables and fruits when it is feasible. We also know how challenging it can be to calculate how many pounds of vegetables or fruits to purchase for children in day care settings.  It can also be difficult to know how much to serve participants of different age groups.

The goal of these tools is to help caregivers serve more fresh vegetables and fruits, increase children’s vegetable and fruit consumption, highlight seasonal, locally grown produce, and prevent food waste. The tools were developed based on information in the USDA Food Buying Guide. They can be helpful to people preparing the meals as well as people purchasing the produce. Check out the tools below!

Local Food Decision Tree in English and Spanish

English

Spanish

NC F2P Network Resources & Publications

Farm To ECE Implementation Grant

ASPHN’s FIG supports public health nutrition professionals by advancing Farm to ECE initiatives at the state level. The focus is to increase the capacity to facilitate long-term sustainable, comprehensive, and equitable Farm to ECE. View NC Infographic and learn more about our states’ strategic plan here.

Check out ASPHN’s FIG impact across 11 states from 2020 – 2023 here!

Results from the 2021 North Carolina Farm to Early Care and Education Survey

The NC Farm to Preschool Network is pleased to share the results from our 2021 North Carolina Farm to Early Care and Education Survey. 

View here to see and download all our products including a one page infographic, a 2 page Executive Summary, a sharing toolkit (which contains a press release, key messages and graphics) and the full report.

Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool

Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool is a guide for ECE professionals that aligns the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, revised edition (ECERS-R) and the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale, revised edition (ITERS-R) with the four core Farm to Preschool activities: edible gardens, farm field trips/farmer visits, local food classroom cooking/taste tests, and local food served in meals and/or snacks. Originally published in 2016, it was revised in 2020. This resource can be used to help child care centers and family child care homes integrate farm to preschool activities into their curriculum while simultaneously addressing the ECERS and ITERS to achieve a high star rating.

Network Advisory Committee Members

  • Kim Shaw, A Safe Place CEC, Inc.
  • Debbi Timson, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Growing Minds program
  • Danielle Raucheisen, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Growing Minds program
  • Natasha Bowden, Buncombe Partnership for Children
  • Marianne Lindgren, Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Community Nutrition Services Section, Division of Child & Family Well-Being, NCDHHS
  • Diane Beth, Whole Child Health Section, Division of Child & Family Well-Being, NCDHHS
  • Dawn Winn Burdo, Division of Child Development and Early Education, NCDHHS
  • Caroline Hundley, Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • Shironda Brown, Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • Aviva Starr, GoNAPSACC, UNC Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention
  • Lynn Policastro, Wake Smart Start
  • Gizem Templeton, World Food Policy Center at Duke University
  • Ellie Morris, Regional Child Care Health Consultant, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center
  • Alisa Stephens, Childcare Service Association (CCSA)
  • Claudia Townsend, Gibson Elementary PreK
  • Heidi Lineberry, Sonflower Seeds Christian PreK &LC, LLC
  • Theresa Stenersen, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center
  • Courtney Ramsey, Healthy Eating and Nutrition Security Coordinator, Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health Branch, Division of Public Health, NCDHHS
  • LaKeasha Glaspie, Regional Child Care Health Consultant, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center

For more information about the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network, please contact growingminds@nullasapconnections.org.

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