Nebraska Farm to Preschool
Farm to Preschool (also referred to as Farm to Early Childhood Education) is an extension of the national Farm to School movement that started with school gardening and connecting farms/farming to schools.
Farm to Preschool includes early childhood programs encompassing preschools, Head Starts, child care centers, and day care homes serving garden or local foods, and providing hands-on nutrition educational activities such as:
- Field trips to farms, local markets, community gardens, and food co-ops
- Inviting guest to your facility – farmers, gardeners, chefs, etc.
- Food sensory exploration activities such as taste-testing, food art, or blind smelling tests
- Cooking with children
- Farm and garden toys and books
- Gardening with children
There are many benefits for children when they are involved in the gardening process. They learn about gardening, agriculture, and life skills. Children can be included with planning, planting, watering/weeding, and harvesting the garden. Fresh garden produce tastes better and data supports increased fruit and vegetable consumption in children who participate in gardening activities. Gardening also supports social and emotional growth.
Why Farm to Preschool?
- Supports development of healthy food patterns
- Early obesity prevention
- Better nutrition which is critical for development
- Children rely on caregivers for healthy food and active environment
- Hands-on activities can increase children’s willingness to try healthy foods
- Supports success local farmers and economies
- Young children behaviors can change family behaviors
Crunch Off 2022
Join Team Nebraska to celebrate October Farm to School month, promoting local seasonally available produce by biting into a local apple, or other crunchy fruit/vegetable October 20, 2022 (or October date of your choice). Nebraska is participating in the Mountain Plains Crunch Off, an eight state competition (CO, KS, MO, MT, ND, SD, and WY). The state with the most crunches per capita is crowned the champion. Nebraska was the 2019, 2020, and the 2021 Mountain Plains Region Crunch Off champion and is looking to defend the title again.
The Crunch Off event encourages healthy eating, supports local agriculture, and helps students and community members gain a deeper understanding of the food system.
Create a Crunch Team to register or register as an individual. You will join schools, early childhood institutions, businesses, local food enthusiasts and community members across the region by Crunching into local produce to celebrate Farm to School Month.
Visit the Nebraska Crunch Off webpage for tons of Crunch resources to help you plan your event.
Win, Win, Win!
Photo credit: usdagov
Win for Children
Children benefit from educational activities and eating healthier foods. Locally grown foods are generally fresher and riper when harvested so they taste better.
Photo credit: usdagov
Win for farmers
Local agriculture is supported. The more nearby farm products are consumed, the more money in the pockets of farmers.
Photo credit: Flicker -djjewelz
Win for Communities Purchasing nearby agricultural products keeps more money in the communities and builds stronger local economies.