For over a decade, IATP has been a leader in the Farm to Institution movement. With the goal of supporting the vitality of small- and mid-size farmers, we find innovative approaches to increase the accessibility of locally-grown foods in public institutions that include not only K-12 schools and health care facilities but also child care providers (home and center), elderly care providers, government offices, preschools, prison/correctional facilities and universities/ colleges. Our work is deeply rooted in Minnesota, as we tailor our strategies to fit the needs and context of each community with which we partner. Over the years we have developed resources and materials that have been informed by these partnerships, but which that we hope can be useful to Farm to Institution advocates everywhere.
Minnesota Farm to School Bill
Farm to School Leadership Curriculum
Farm to School Youth Leadership Curriculum
Farm to School Month
Farm to Early Care initiatives connect young children with healthy, locally-grown foods and support farmers in their communities.
Farm to Early Care’s three core components include:
Serving locally-grown foods in Early Care meals and snacks
Offering food and farming-related educational activities for children
Organizing food and farming-related family engagement activities
IATP’s Community Food Systems team works to support Farm to Early Care on multiple levels. From providing technical support to Minnesota Head Start programs launching their own Farm to Head Start initiatives, to leading a statewide Farm to Early Care Coalition designed to connect and engage practitioners, to working with diverse stakeholders to pass legislation supporting Farm to School and Early Care, IATP is a national leader in Farm to Early Care Education (ECE) work.
Farm to Childcare Curriculum Package
Farm to Early Care themes can be integrated seamlessly into the classroom to introduce children to local foods outside of mealtimes. IATP developed a comprehensive Farm to Early Care curriculum designed to coordinate food and farming-related lessons with existing classroom activities, including math and science, sensory and dramatic play, and circle time. The curriculum also contains helpful tools, such as farmer profiles and sample newsletters, to engage parents and caregivers.
Farm to Early Care Coalition
The Minnesota Farm to Early Care Coalition works through partnerships across the state to build Farm to Early Care & Education (ECE) initiatives that help children 0-5 access healthy, local food; promote lifelong healthy eating behaviors and food skills among children, providers, and families; support nearby farmers; foster economic vitality; and strengthen communities.
Established in 2014, the Coalition is made up of Farm to ECE advocates from state agencies, non-profits, education, public health, and early care settings. Through bi-monthly virtual meetings, the Coalition’s goals are to:
• Coordinate, streamline and leverage our work to advance Farm to ECE across the state
• Strengthen and advocate for supportive policies and legislation
• Share Farm to ECE resources, tools and best practices
• Educate about the benefits of Farm to ECE for children, farmers and communities
• Focus on systems-change opportunities
For more information or to join the Coalition, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm to Early Care Webinar Series
In a four-part webinar series, IATP’s Community Food Systems team provides technical support and implementation strategies for those working in early care settings to begin (or scale up) a Farm to Early Care initiative. With webinars specifically tailored to both educators and nutrition/foodservice staff, as well as USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) compliance and local food purchasing, these webinars are designed to address the needs of practitioners in any ECE setting.
Farm to Head Start is a type of Farm to Early Care initiative taking place within a Head Start program. IATP’s Community Food Systems team has partnered with Head Start programs across Minnesota to incorporate local menu items, educational food and farming-related classroom activities and family engagement events on the subject of local food into their programs. From diverse urban areas like St. Paul, to tribal communities connecting children with culturally significant foods in northern Minnesota, to programs serving migrant farm worker families throughout the state, Farm to Head Start initiatives have been successfully implemented across a range of settings.
Summer meals not only provide an important source of nutrition for children when school is out of session but also are an opportunity for farmers to showcase their products during the height of the growing season. IATP is partnering with Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors across Minnesota to incorporate locally-grown foods into meals and snacks and build community through celebrating local foods.