Working with New Horizon, IATP is launching a new Farm to Child Care program that will take place at thirteen New Horizon child care sites in the Twin Cities metro, St. Cloud and Rochester areas beginning in June. The pilot is intended to help catalyze and inform the emerging Farm to Child Care movement around the country.
Leading up to the June launch, IATP and NHA have been building relationships with area farmers, revamping menus to include locally grown fruits, vegetables and wild rice, developing curriculum for the children, and generating helpful tips for parents. IATP has also released national research on nascent Farm to Child Care programs around the country, and the opportunities and challenges of connecting farmers with children in child care settings.
Given growing diet and nutrition challenges among youth, engaging children early in life is essential. Reaching young children, particularly between the ages of three and five, is a golden opportunity to connect them with healthy food choices while creating new opportunities for the local farm economy.
In 2013, the program will be extended to all 60 of NHA’s Minnesota child care locations, reaching a total of 7,500 children. After evaluation of the program, IATP will report its findings nationally and provide tools to encourage others around the nation to develop Farm to Childcare initiatives in their own communities.
We invite you to let us know about your interest in Farm to Child Care. To learn more about this growing field, take a look at IATP’s new research report, Farm to Child Care: Opportunities and Challenges for Connecting Young Children with Local Foods and Farmers or read the press release on iatp.org.