Local Living, Starting Early– how engaging children with food can help shape healthy habits

by Jessica Burroughs

The NC Farm to Early Care & Education initiative supports early care and education (ECE) settings to provide the environments and education for children that lay the groundwork for lifelong healthy habits. The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is developing food procurement systems, connecting resources and people across food systems and early childhood education, and providing children with experiential ways to engage with food.

Using the Breakthrough Series Collaborative approach, CEFS and its partners, including Rural Forward NC, have created a statewide network of ECE providers, teachers, cooks, parents, farmers, local Cooperative Extension agents, and local Partnership for Children staff to work together to connect children to fresh, healthy, local food in the classroom, in the garden, and at meal and snack time.  The Collaborative offered the opportunity for these diverse teams from 9 counties across North Carolina to learn from one another, test out improvements, and use data to guide progress in order to advance Farm to ECE work.

The video below highlights Rural Forward NC’s statewide initiative with the NC Farm to Early Care & Education initiative.