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.

girl eating a cucumber
girl eating a cucumber
HAFA farmer and kid with cucumber
Roseville Cucumber Crunch
Tri-Valley Garden
Tri-Valley kids with watermelon
Farm to School Senate Hearing
Community Food Systems
Farm to Summer logo
Community Food Systems

Minnesota Farm to School Bill

Farm to School Senate Hearing
Community Food Systems
Farm to School press conference
Community Food Systems

Farm to School Leadership Curriculum

Putting Farm to School in students’ hands
Serving grains and legumes the Farm to School way

Season Extension

High tunnels can bring benefits to farmers and schools
Community Food Systems
Community Food Systems

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.  

Community Action kids
Farm to Early Care: A year of healthy kids, happy farmers and connected communities

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.   

Growing Farm to Childcare

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 farmtoearlycarecoalition@iatp.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.  

Kids from Tri-Valley Head Start with a watermelon
IATP and Tri-Valley
Community Food Systems
Lower Sioux Head Start
Community Food Systems
Community Action kids
Community Food Systems
Community Food Systems

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.  

girl eating a cucumber
girl eating a cucumber
Katie Farm to Summer
Community Food Systems
Roseville Cucumber Crunch
Community Food Systems
The Good Acre's Nikki talks Farm to Summer
Community Food Systems
The Good Acre's Steve
Community Food Systems
Roseville's Reen talks about Farm to Summer
Community Food Systems
Roseville's Esme talks Farm to Summer
Community Food Systems
Roseville's Angie talks Farm to Summer
Community Food Systems
Farm to Summer logo