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Growing Farm to Preschool: Bringing the “Farm” to Preschool Settings
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Growing Farm to Preschool: Bringing the “Farm” to Preschool Settings


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  • 1. Growing Farm to Preschool Bringing the “Farm” to Preschool Settings Stacey Sobell, Ecotrust Rosa Romero, UEPI, Occidental College Zoe Phillips, UEPI, Occidental College15th Annual CFSC Conference– November 6, 2011
  • 2. Group popcorn questions: who is in the room?• Do you work with preschools or childcare?• Are you involved with farm to school programs?• Are you a educator? Do you work for a non- profit? Are you food service staff? Are you a farmer or food producer?• Are you from the west coast? The east coast? From out of the country?
  • 3. Key Concepts• K-12 farm to school movement is strong and growing• Farm to preschool movement is emerging• Farm to preschool is a systems approach• National Farm to School Network and website provide resources and support
  • 4. Topics• Introduction/Overview: – Farm to preschool – what and why? – Systems approach – Case study: program in Los Angeles – National support• Interactive activities: – Student activities – A closer look at the systems approach
  • 5. Farm to Preschool: What and Why?
  • 6. What is Farm to Preschool?• Farm to School: – Connects local food producers and processors with the school cafeteria or kitchen – Food- and garden-based education in the classroom, lunchroom, and community• Farm to Preschool: – Ages 0-5 – Childcare centers, preschool, daycare centers, in-home care, Head Start Cafeteria – Classroom - Community
  • 7. National Farm to School Network Operating in 50 states More than 2,352 programs in K-12
  • 8. Why Farm to Preschool?• Addresses increases in obesity among preschoolers• Encourages preference and consumption of fruits and vegetables• Increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables
  • 9. Why Farm to Preschool?• Teaches food and environmental literacy to students, teachers and food service workers• Benefits local economy and environment• Improves opportunities for small farmers
  • 10. Why Preschool?• Children consume as much as 80% of daily nutrients in childcare• Early patterns are a determinant of later eating habits• Children and schools can be agents of change in their family and community• K-12 Farm to School movement strong – Prepares preschoolers for later activities
  • 11. Farm to Preschool:Systems Approach
  • 12. Farm to Preschool Partners/ Stakeholders Students Families Educators Farm- to- Farmers & Community Food School Members Producers Preschool Food Service/ Staff Cooks
  • 13. Case Study: Los Angeles
  • 14. Farm to Preschool Program UEPI, Occidental College• Nutrition and Garden curriculum• Experiential learning• Physical activity• Parent outreach and workshops• Local food sourcing• Wellness policies• Community links• Evaluation
  • 15. Nutrition and Garden EducatorsEducationHarvest of the Month nutrition curriculum Students – CA state developed program for K-12 – Modified a PreK version – Meets Head Start Domains and DRDP-R – Weekly lessons – Monthly taste tests – New topics include: -Seasonal and local food system -Plant cycles through gardening
  • 16. Experiential Learning Educators StudentsInteractive Books Monthly Taste Test Gardening Language and Arts Science Labs
  • 17. Physical Activity Educators• “Tutti-Fruitti” physical activity breaks with Students healthy eating themes• Studies show that PA breaks increase concentration throughout the day• Ideal for during group and transitional times
  • 18. Parent Outreach & Preschool FamiliesWorkshops Staff• Workshop Themes: Students Farmers & - Healthy Eating on a Budget Food Producers - Reading Nutritional Labels - Understanding Diabetes/Cholesterol - Home Gardening• Monthly family newsletters• Field trips & CSA
  • 19. FoodLocal Food Sourcing Service/ Cooks Farmers & Food• Facilitate relationships with farmers, Producers farmers‟ markets, and food distributors• Source locally in meal and snack menus• Best Practices: start small, realize budget is the bottom- line; volume and seasonality are key• Models are emerging: -Cooperative Buying (Springfield, Mass) -Scratch cooking by large distributors (San Diego, Ca) -Farmers‟ Markets, Farm direct, CSAs, Farm Cooperatives
  • 20. PreschoolWellness Policies Staff Families• Not required in childcare Educators• Watered-down• Potential for sustainable improvements in school environment• Include language for farm to preschool components• Barriers: buy-in, not required• Best Practices: involve administrators, staff, teachers and parents in development
  • 21. Farmers & CommunityCommunity Links Food Producers Members Farmers‟ Market Fieldtrip Students Educators Cooperative Extension Farmer in the Classroom
  • 22. Evaluation Educators FamiliesSurveys from students and parents Preschool over two school years showed: Community Staff Members• Increased knowledge of „local‟ and „fresh‟• Increased knowledge of fruits and vegetables• Increased willingness to try new fruits and vegetables• Trend towards preferring more fruits and vegetables, less likely to prefer unhealthy foods• Parents: Increased knowledge of farmers‟ markets, healthy eating practices, reading nutrition labels, identifying obesity risk factors
  • 23. Farm to Preschool Nationally
  • 24. A Growing Movement– Handful of pilot programs a few years ago– National Farm to School Network: one-year farm to preschool planning initiative– Farm to Preschool Subcommittee– 2012 Activities: • National survey of programs • Convening key stakeholders • Farm to Cafeteria Conference • Report • Website…
  • 25. Coming Soon!
  • 26. Farm to Preschool:Interactive Activities
  • 27. Sample Farm to Preschool ActivitiesStudents:• Science Discovery Lab• Taste test• Gardening• Tutti Fruitti stretch
  • 28. Community Mapping Families Students EducatorsActivity: Farmers & Food Producers Farm- to- School Community MembersCreating a Farm to Preschool Preschool Staff Food Service/ Cooks Community Action Plan
  • 29. Questions?
  • 30. Contact Information/ResourcesRosa Romero Stacey