Written by Rosa Romero, MEd – Farm to Preschool Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute
There is an exciting new Farm to Preschool Pilot underway in Los Angeles! Since 2009, the Farm to Preschool (F2P) Program at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College (UEPI) has partnered with Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment Early Childhood Education (PACE ECE) to develop curriculum to promote healthy eating and an understanding of where food comes from. PACE ECE operates 14 fully licensed Head Start State Preschool child-care and development centers serving 1,110 children age three to five throughout Los Angeles. Over the past few years UEPI and PACE ECE developed a comprehensive model Wellness Policy for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity that incorporates mandated policies such as making drinking water available to students indoors and outdoors (Assembly Bill 2084), offering nutrition and health education classes for parents (Head Start Performance Standards: 1304.23d) as well as specific F2P components of incorporating local foods into meals and snacks, weekly nutrition lessons, taste tests, gardening, and connecting with regional farmers through field-trips to farms and farmers’ market and classroom visits by farmers. This model wellness policy has been used to train dozens of preschools in the Los Angeles area on how to create similar policies at their sites. Continue reading
Bonus: 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.
This story was written by returning FoodCorps service member Noah Donnell-Kilmer, who serves with Garden School Foundation in Los Angeles. Read on to understand the roller coaster ride of teaching and the stories that make the chaos of teaching in school gardens and cooking for kids all worthwhile in this work.
Cooking with elementary schoolers is always an exercise in relinquishing control of children. Yes, you have a set recipe and a vision of how said recipe should look, with proper ratios of ingredients, well chopped pieces, and a beautiful appearance. However, this is not what cooking class is about. You are more of a guide in a cooking class.
You can show them all the knife skills and impress upon them the importance of knife safety. You can show the proper amounts of each ingredient to add and teach them all about the nutritional values of fruits and vegetables. Yet, at the end of the day, cooking classes, much like garden classes, are spaces for experimentation and discovery. In cooking class, new tastes are tried, knives are used for the first time, bicycle blenders spin, the seed to table cycle is completed, and kitchen vocabularies expand with new descriptive terms.