Farm to Child

Close of up variety of vegetables

Farm to Child enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food by changing food purchasing and education practices in early care and education settings.

The three core elements of Farm to Child are local food purchasing, gardening, and food and agriculture education.

  • Local Food Purchasing: Local foods are purchased, promoted, and served. 
  • Gardening: Children engage in hands-on learning through local gardens. 
  • Education: Children and staff participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health, and nutrition.

    Colorado Proud Meal Day & Mountain Plains Crunch Off

    October 2-6, 2023

    Support Colorado farmers and producers while enjoying fresh, local and nutritious foods. This October, CDPHE is teaming up with the Colorado Department of Education to host Colorado Proud Meal Day and the 2023 Mountain Plains Crunch Off.

      Colorado Proud Meal Day - October 3, 2023

      On October 3, 2023, all participants will choose to serve Colorado-grown or produced items on their menus. This can be as simple as a single item that comes from Colorado, or you can work to bring numerous locally grown or produced products to the plate. The Colorado Department of Agriculture invites you to fill out this form to share how you are celebrating local farmers, producers, or ranchers at your child care. For more resources to support your Colorado Proud meal day, visit the CDA website.

      2023 Mountain Plains Crunch Off - October 2-6, 2023

      In celebration of Farm to School Month, states throughout the Mountain Plains Region (CO, MT, MO, KS, NE, ND, SD, WY) are competing to see which state can get the most “crunches”!

      The Crunch Off invites all child care providers to “CRUNCH” into a locally grown item. This can be anything from carrots to apples, or even a crunchy watermelon!

      Watch the Colorado Crunch Off videos in English or Spanish to learn more.

      Download the 2023 CACFP Crunch Off menu for ideas and inspiration.
      Register today: https://ksde.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3Cw1w1Uz2WwKL0W

      Tip: Consider hosting both events on the same day!

      October Farm to Child Month

      Join us weekly in October to celebrate Farm to Child Month. Each week, a newsletter featuring resources, training opportunities, and core component education will be shared.

      View Week One, or download the pdf.
      Join our newsletter emailing list.

      Learning Opportunities - 20 on Tuesdays!
      These short 20-minute virtual educational opportunities will increase knowledge on Farm to Child components and help ECE professionals understand the tools, resources, and skills needed to start or continue a Farm to Child program.

      Each session provides .25 CEU.

      Register here.

      • Oct. 10, 1-1:20 p.m. - What is Farm to ECE, Core Components.
      • Oct. 17, 1-1:20 p.m. - Learning Standard Alignment & Goal Setting.
      • Oct. 24, 1-1:20 p.m. - Nutrition and Agriculture Education.

      Harvest of the Month Resources

      View these new resources | Español  | Arabic | Check back monthly for more!

      Colorado's Farm to Child Guide

      View the Farm to Child Guide here | Español | Arabic.

      Local Food Purchasing

      Purchasing local foods not only supports the community and local economy, but provides centers and homes with fresh, nutritious, and seasonally produced foods. Farm to Child empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthing the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities.

      Farm to Child research is beginning to show positive results for children and their families. Meals in centers that focus on serving local food have been found to be more nutritious than non-local meal service, especially in fruits and vegetables. 



        CACFP Reimbursement

        Using local food is considered a best practice under CACFP Meal Patterns. Institutions should maintain receipts for items purchased at farmer's markets. If donations are received from local gardens or farms, make sure the donations are documented using the donation receipt form

        Match-making Service

        The CACFP is offering individualized match-making services for farmers/producers and CACFP child care centers and homes. 

        Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Shares

        A CSA share is an investment in a local farm at the beginning of the growing season. This investment ensures that our local farmers have funding to begin the season with full fields. As a shareholder, you will receive up to 13 weeks of produce. Each week's shares will consist of the produce that is ready for harvest during that season. Children in care will have the opportunity to try seasonal local produce.

        Find a CSA in Colorado 



        The benefits of green spaces in early childhood care centers are endless. Gardens create positive learning environments, increase children's willingness to try new fruits and vegetables, and serves as a valuable tool for engaging students in a number of academic subjects. Gardens empower everyone, even little ones, to contribute to the process of growing food from seed to harvest. 

        CACFP Reimbursement

        Did you know that CACFP funds can be used to purchase items to grow a garden? Contact your Nutrition Consultant or see USDA CACFP Procedure Memo 11-2015 for more information.  


        CHOP was a three-year program for child care providers, funded by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Team Nutrition Training grant. CHOP’s goal was to get kids in care eating more seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables and/or on-site garden produce. The CHOP grant ended in September 2018, but the resources are still informative, fun, and full of great ideas.

        Check out this promotional video for our collaboration with Livewell Colorado: Farm to Preschool is Possible.

        CHOP on Colorado Public Radio: To Keep Kids from Dodging Veggies Colorado Wants to Hook 'em Young.

        For providers

        10/16/2019 - Let's talk about Squash and Snow!

        09/17/2019 - CHOP September Newsletter 2019

        08/16/2019 - CHOP August Newsletter

        07/18/2019 - CHOP & LiveWell Colorado Present: Quickbite Videos

        07/10/2019 - July CHOP Newsletter, Quick Bite Video Release!

        06/05/2019 - June CHOP Newsletter 2019

        05/08/2019 - CHOP May Newsletter

        04/25/2019 - CHOP April Newsletter

        03/20/2019 - CHOP Webinar Reminder!

        03/13/2019 - CHOP's March Newsletter


        For parents

        09/07/2018 - September is the last month of the Grant! Let's wrap it up with some fun family time.

        08/03/2018 - Let's learn about Peaches and Tomatoes!

        07/06/2018 - CHOP July Family Newsletter

        06/08/2018 - CHOP Grant Family Newsletter, June is all about Carrots!

        05/11/2018 - May Family Newsletter from CHOP

        04/23/2018 - Welcome to the CHOP Parent Newsletter, April 2018



        Assessing the Safety of your Garden After a Fire.

        Planning your garden with Master Gardener Julie Pfankuch.  

        Serving vegetables on the CACFP.  

        Webinar on serving vegetables on the CACFP.

        Funding opportunities for gardens

        Colorado State University - Colorado Master Gardeners

        Starting a Sustainable Garden for Child Care Centers and Homes.

        Nature Play at HomeJardinería de frutas y hortalizas.



        Not only is Farm to Child a wonderful way for children to learn about the environment and how food grows, but it also teaches self-reliance, the importance of community, and hands-on STEM concepts. Learning about growth and renewal builds optimism and positivity. 

        Farm to Child has shown a positive impact in the following areas:

        • Child engagement and development. 
        • Academic achievement. 
        • Family, educator, and staff engagement. 



        Learn to cook with CACFP
        Quick Bites 

        To view all eight Quickbite videos, please visit the Professional Development Information System (PDIS), create an account if you are a new user, and search the word "Quick."

        Knife Skills Training | Spanish

        Course materials


        Colorado Farm to Child Collaborative

        Colorado Farm to Child Collaborative

        Colorado's Farm to Child initiative envisions a state where fresh produce and other nutritious foods from local farms are an essential component of strong and just local and regional food systems.


        Developed in 2021, the Colorado Farm to Child Roadmap included over 150 listening sessions around the state with diverse groups and audiences. This living document contains five strategic initiatives to advance Farm to Child in Colorado.

        Roadmap Guides

        Actionable steps to engage in Farm to Child. Audience-based Guides developed using the Farm to Child Roadmap's initiatives.

        Get Involved

        Join the Farm to Child Collaborative to gain insight and share your ECE experiences with a growing group of individuals working to enhance Farm to Child efforts in Colorado.

        Newsletter Archive

        Farm to Child newsletter archive

        State Contact List

        The state contact list contains information for individuals who can assist in varying areas of Farm to Child. From your local health inspector to CSU Master Gardeners or a Family Friend and Neighbor Support Organization near you, this list is your first stop in getting your Farm to Child program questions answered.

        Colorado Data

        In the spring of 2023, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the Statewide Farm to Child survey. This survey examined the participation of different types of child care sites in Colorado, as well as the perceived benefits and challenges associated with the core activities of gardening, local food purchasing, and nutrition and agriculture education.


        View the 2023 Colorado Farm to Child Statewide Survey infographic for a quick look at key takeaways from the survey results.

        Data Landscape Webinar

        This recorded webinar examines the 2023 survey results, includes key takeaway information, and discusses how organizations and child care centers can apply this data to future work.

        Participation Maps, 2018 and 2023

        Each map showcases participation in Farm to Child core components of gardening, local food purchasing, and nutrition and agriculture education. These maps do not show all child care sites in Colorado; rather, they showcase those who participated in the survey in 2018 and 2023, where they were located, and what components were implemented.

        Using Farm to Child Data in Grant Writing

        This grant writing resource provides guidelines for including the 2023 data in grant applications, based on the type of site you operate and whether you participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This resource connects the 2023 data to other data resources that help to highlight the need and impact of Farm to Child in your community.

        Grant Resources

        Grants are an important and crucial part of funding the Farm to Child program in Colorado. Writing a grant application takes time, skill, and knowledge of individual grant requirements. The resources on the right work to increase access to funding opportunities, improve grant writing skills, and provide resources on how to apply data to showcase the need for your program.

        Grant Writing Resource

        This resource showcases numerous partners' and organizations’ resources, webinars, and tools to assist you on your grant writing journey.

        Grant Opportunities

        There are many ways to creatively fund your upcoming Farm to Child project. Visit the Grant Opportunities page often as new and exciting funding opportunities are added throughout the year.

        Using Farm to Child Data in Grant Writing

        This grant writing resource provides guidelines for including the 2023 data in grant applications, based on the type of site you operate and whether you participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This resource connects the 2023 data to other data resources that help to highlight the need and impact of Farm to Child in your community.