Farm to Preschool takes shape in South LA

F2P1aBonus: Farm to Preschool grant opportunity inside!

Today’s guest post is our first about the growing world of Farm to Preschool (F2P). While F2P is certainly under the umbrella of Farm to School, it’s important to tailor programming, curriculum, and meals and snacks to preschoolers in specific ways in order to get young children used to fresh foods and healthy food environments. Misty Spicer of Antioch University’s Urban Sustainability Program shares a story about introducing Los Angeles preschoolers to farmers markets. Read on to learn more!    

Fresh food got a little sweeter for preschoolers and their families this past summer, thanks to the Pacific Asian Consortium for Employment (PACE) and the Farm to Preschool program at Occidental College. A group of preschoolers chaperoned by parents and teachers left PACE’s Magnolia Place and Christian Fellowship preschool sites, located in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles, for and exciting adventure at Exposition Park before heading to the local farmers’ market.

While at the park, students and parent enjoyed a delightful picnic under the shady trees on the lush green grass; they played games and sang their favorite songs. F2P1b

After playing to their heart’s content, Farm to Preschool Director, Rosa Romero led the full-bellied crew to St. Agnus Farmers Market in South LA where the children were each presented with one Market Match dollar.

The Market Match program matches $10 in WIC, CalFresh, SSI and Social Security vouchers, so that low-income families can eat healthier while gaining much needed access to local and sustainable food options. This relationship creates a healthier community and a more vibrant local economy.

 

Youngsters chose diverse ways to use Market Match dollars, savoring their bounties on the bus ride back. Some found new foods, and others stuck to old favorites. One collective of students pitched in on a flat of strawberries, gobbling them up so fast you would have thought they missed lunch. Parents were equally content, and especially excited to learn about Market Match and enrolled on the spot, further bridging the gap between food and community.


Ready to strengthen your Farm to Preschool work? California Farm to Preschool Mini-Grants Available!

Dear California early child care and education (ECE) providers, agencies, organizations, farmers and food producers working directly with ECE sites:

The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) is requesting applications for innovative Farm to Preschool (F2P) projects that strengthen relationships between children and healthy, local foods in the states of California. This mini–grant project is funded through the generosity of The Honest Company. The F2P mini-grants will support new and expanding F2P projects in California through funding, technical assistance, and the creation of a Learning Community—a network of ECE providers learning with and from each other. All types of ECE settings and agencies, organizations,farmers and food producers working directly with an ECE site(s) in California are invited to apply. Mini-grants will be awarded through a competitive application process.

Farm to Preschool (F2P) is a national movement to improve early childhood nutrition and education, and support food systems change through models that encompass a wide range of programs and activities. UEPI is a leader in the F2P movement, connecting programs within the state and across the country and also works with the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) to advance the F2P movement at a national level.

Application and instructions available for download from www.farmtopreschool.org/states/ca.html

We are committed to supporting farm to preschool efforts in a wide variety of settings.  If you have questions or are interested in applying but feel you need assistance with any aspect of the application, please contact Rosa Romero, rromero@oxy.edu.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00pm PST on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015. Submit completed applications via email to minigrant@farmtopreschool.org.

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