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Farm to Child

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Farm to Child

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:

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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.

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Farm to Child Success Stories

We're proud of our work in communities throughout Colorado and invite you to watch these 30-second previews of our Farm to Child Success Stories (available in English and Spanish with subtitles). Want to see more? Use the button below to visit the Farm to Child YouTube Channel and watch the full videos.

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Resources

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Harvest of the Month

Harvest of the Month PDF resources are available in: 

English

Español

Arabic

Farm to Child Guide

Colorado's Farm to Child Guide PDF is available in: 

English

Español

Arabic

Local Food Purchasing

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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 strengthening 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 are more nutritious than non-local meal service, especially in fruits and vegetables.

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.

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

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:

Gardening

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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.

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 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

Colorado Farm to Child Collaborative

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Colorado Farm to Child Collaborative logo

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.

New member orientation

Learn about the Farm to Child Collaborative and how to get involved in this recorded New Member Orientation video.

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.

The Farm to Child Collaborative convened twice in September 2023. These convenings included both in-person and virtual feedback platforms to provide updates to the Farm to Child Roadmap. These recommendations and proposed activities can be found in the Roadmap 2.0.

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

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.

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.

Education

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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.

Resources
Trainings
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

 

Education

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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.

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20 on Tuesdays
These short 20-minute educational opportunities will increase knowledge on Farm to Child components and help ECE professionals understand the tools, resources, and skills needed to start a Farm to Child program at their site.

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What is Farm to ECE?
Early Learning Standard Alignment
Nutrition and Agriculture Education in the Classroom

Colorado Data

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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.

Infographic

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

Data Landscape Webinar

These slides presented at a webinar examine 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

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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 food systems projects that support Farm to Child. Visit the Funding and Resource List often as new and exciting 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.