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Farm to Preschool 101 Stacey Sobell Williams, MPH Farm to School Coordinator, Ecotrust Portland, Oregon Western Lead Agency, National Farm to School Network Agenda Introduction to farm to preschool Farm to Head Start pilot in Oregon Increasing procurement of local foods Farm Field Trips

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farm to preschool 101

Farm to Preschool 101

Stacey Sobell Williams, MPH

Farm to School Coordinator, Ecotrust

Portland, Oregon

Western Lead Agency, National Farm to School Network

agenda
Agenda
  • Introduction to farm to preschool
  • Farm to Head Start pilot in Oregon
  • Increasing procurement of local foods
  • Farm Field Trips
  • Gardening with young children
  • Curriculum…
what is farm to preschool
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
  • Ages 0-5
  • Childcare centers, preschool, Head Start, daycare centers, in-home care
why farm to preschool
Why Farm to Preschool?
  • Dramatic increases in obesity among preschoolers
  • Low consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Food deserts = lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh food = healthy food
  • Other benefits:
    • Local economy
    • Environment
why farm to preschool continued
Why Farm to Preschool? Continued…
  • Rely on caregivers to create food/activity environments
  • Consume as much as 80% of daily nutrients in childcare
  • Early patterns are a determinant of later eating habits
why farm to preschool continued7
Why Farm to Preschool? Continued…
  • K-12 Farm to School movement strong
  • Prepare preschoolers for farm to school programs as they enter K-12

Credit: Emily Jackson, ASAP, 2008

why head start
Why Head Start?
  • Vulnerable population
  • Parental involvement
  • Curriculum is experiential = a good fit
ecotrust s farm to head start pilot program
Ecotrust’s Farm to Head Start Pilot Program
  • Oregon Child Development Coalition
  • 3 pilot sites
  • Goals and activities:
    • Connections with local farmers and food processors
    • Incorporation of more healthy local fruits and vegetables and other foods
    • Promote food- and garden-based

education

pilot program outcomes
Pilot Program Outcomes
  • Farm and food processor field trips:
    • Salad greens, strawberries
    • Local, preservative and HFCS-free chili
    • Inspired ideas: sugar-free local fruit cups
  • Early Sprouts curriculum (www.earlysprouts.org)
    • Sensory exploration, tasting, cooking activities
    • Parental involvement, hands-on participatory
farm to childcare into the future
Farm to Childcare into the Future…
  • OCDC planted gardens, started a blog
  • Replicable model

Americorps member, teachers, and kids at OCDC’s Silverton learning and nutritional garden

Photo credit: http://ocdcgardens.blogspot.com/

increasing local procurement models
Increasing Local Procurement: Models
  • Direct from farmers
  • Work with farmers cooperatives
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Traditional wholesalers

Note: As of October 1, 2008, the NSLA allows institutions receiving funds through the CNP to apply a geographic preference when procuring unprocessed locally grown or raised agricultural products. You can access the memo here:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/Policy-Memos/2008/SP_30-2008.pdf

Adapted from: USDA Food & Nutrition Service, Eat Smart—Farm Fresh!, 2005

steps to increase local procurement
Steps to Increase Local Procurement
  • Start small
  • Review menus/regulations
  • Decide on the best model:
    • Meet with your distributor
    • Identify local farms, food processors, markets (“adult field trips”)
    • Communicate clearly and be flexible

Adapted in part from: Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Farm to School Field Guide for Food Service

http://www.caff.org/programs/FSDguide.pdf

slide16

2008 field trip with OCDC childcare partners to Truitt Brothers processing plant in Salem, OR

slide17

How do you procure?*Where do you get most of your food?*Have you procured or tried to procure local food?*What barriers have you encountered?

troubleshooting procurement19
Troubleshooting Procurement
  • Problems:
    • Too expensive
    • Distributor inflexible or few local options
  • Solutions:
    • Set financial guidelines, develop annual goals, start small, buy seasonally
    • Demand more local, renegotiate contract, leverage off-contract flexibility

Adapted in part from: Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Farm to School Field Guide for Food Service

troubleshooting procurement continued
Troubleshooting Procurement continued…
  • Problems:
    • Kids won’t eat new foods
    • Little support or even opposition
  • Solutions:
    • Farm or farmer’s market field trips, tasting days, use produce from on-site garden
    • Build a team! Communicate challenges and benefits. Promote what you are doing!

Adapted in part from: Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Farm to School Field Guide for Food Service

slide21
Online directory and marketplace for regional buyers/sellers of food
  • Helps to streamlime procurement and promotion
  • Launched February 2010
  • Focus on Oregon and Washington

www.food-hub.org

farm field trips23
Farm Field Trips
  • Try to go to the farm that supplies the food to the Head Start center
  • Make sure you have access to bathrooms
  • Dress appropriately and come prepared (water, name tags, sunscreen)
  • Provide authentic experiences – let the children do something real
  • Make an inclement weather plan

Credit: Emily Jackson, ASAP, 2008

benefits of gardens
Benefits of Gardens
  • Naturally calms and reduces stress
  • Can help to manage ADHD
  • Promotes exploration and discovery
  • Great fit with experiential education
  • Motivates and increases activity

Credit: Diana Vandenbussche, Child Development Associates, 2009

establishing gardens
Establishing Gardens
  • Challenge #1
  • Staff unfamiliar with or resistant to gardening
  • Possible Solutions
  • Have a fun training
  • Require teachers to incorporate gardening into their lesson plans every day
  • See if cooperative extensions, Victory Gardens, or any other groups offer mentors
  • Find an easy gardening curriculum (next presentation)

Credit: Diana Vandenbussche, Child Development Associates, 2009. Photo Credit: Emily Jackson, ASAP, 2008

slide28
Challenge #2

Lack of money and resources

Possible Solutions

Have garden fundraisers

See if parents are willing to donate time

Grants (Stacey’s list) or request in-kind donations of supplies (e.g., Home Depot)

Establishing Gardens

Credit: Diana Vandenbussche, Child Development Associates, 2009

slide29
Other Challenges

Physical obstacles

Placement of preschool buildings

No dirt area or space for garden

Not enough shade/too much shade

No hose connections outside

Lack of people power for digging up space, etc.

Not enough or the right equipment

Animal /insect invasions!

Certain types of plants may be toxic (e.g., no nightshades – tomatoes, peppers, potatoes)

Establishing Gardens

Credit: Diana Vandenbussche, Child Development Associates, 2009

slide30
Possible Solutions

Grow plants indoors or just sprout seeds on windowsill

Buy or build raised bed boxes for patio areas

Let children fill small watering cans to water plants inside or out

Enlist parents to water on weekends and help with physical labor starting garden

Establishing Gardens

Credit: Diana Vandenbussche, Child Development Associates, 2009

slide31
Opportunities

Include a sand or soil box nearby for non-garden play

Plant with the senses in mind, use lots of color

Consider planting fruit bushes/trees

Cook with what you grow or at least taste it

Establishing Gardens

Credit: Emily Jackson, ASAP, 2008

slide32

Don’t forget…

  • Be a good role model – eat your veggies!
  • Document your work and promote it to parents, the community, and the media

Photo Credit: Emily Jackson, ASAP, 2008