Georgia Farm to Early Care & Education

Farm to ECE models connect early care and education providers to locally grown, healthy foods; increase nutritional awareness among young children; promote the development of local gardens at early care and education programs; and engage families around issues related to child nutrition. Activity examples include vegetable taste testing, family celebrations with healthy foods, edible gardens, menu changes, and seeds and other planting resources.

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Farm to ECE Text Tips

Quality Care for Children is excited to offer its free farm to table texting program to Georgia parents and child care providers. Simply text “FarmGA” to 99000 to sign up for this free monthly texting service to receive recipes, farm to table activity ideas, and tips for getting kids to eat more fresh, local produce.

 

What is “local”? You decide.

Local can mean within your county, in your state or in your region. For Georgia, local could mean food grown in the state, or it could be food grown within 100 miles of your location. For example, if you’re in the southern city of Valdosta, that could mean food grown in your region (Georgia, Florida, Alabama or South Carolina). It’s simply up to you. Consider your area’s growing season and the types of foods that grow and are produced near you. Also, when you buy local food, you help support the local and community economy.  

 

Where can I find local food?

You may shop at a nearby farmer’s market. Many local grocers and food co-ops carry locally-grown food, but you will have to look for signs or labels on these products. Sometimes you will simply have to ask where did the food come from if it’s not labeled. You may find a local farmer’s market here with your zip code or go to Georgia Grown to find food grown in our state.

Local food may also be purchased through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture programs). CSA food is paid for in advance and food is delivered to you weekly. A CSA offers the opportunity to try new foods and to learn what foods are in season. To learn more about shopping for local food or to find a CSA, go to the Georgia Organics website.


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How to get involved

Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Partners (Quality Care for Children, Georgia Organics, The Common Market, Little Ones Learning Center, and Voices for Georgia’s Children) have received funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to provide up to $1,500 mini-grants, free resources, materials, training, and professional development to sites interested in becoming part of The Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative.

Georgia Farm to ECE Kellogg Partners are committed to addressing root causes of food systems inequities as a means of creating viable food systems solutions that combat disparities existing among children and their families.  Racial equity in the food system will be achieved when race and other socio-economic factors no longer determine food systems outcomes. These outcomes include access to food systems jobs and opportunities, access to farmland, access to healthy and nutritious food as well as access to good labor practices and fair wages.

We are currently not accepting any further applications for the grant funded program, however, we are continually looking to support child care programs with tools and resources to develop their own Farm to ECE curriculums. If you would like to learn more, please contact Gina Cook, Nutrition Early Care and Education Specialist, at gina.cook@qualitycareforchildren.org or 404-479-4190.

  • Grants up to $1,500 will be given to each site to support their Farm to ECE plan of action. 
  • Support of activities will through onsite technical assistance, including telephone/web-based technical assistance. 
  • Related supplies and resources will be provided to each accepted participating program.
  • Scholarship to the Georgia Organics Conference (value $350)
  • Free 10-hours of state-approved Chefs for Young Children training – Hands on nutrition and food preparation using Cooking Matters curriculum (value $60)
  • One-year complimentary scholarship for the Georgia Alliance for Quality Child Care (value $225)
  • Parents receive monthly text messages on nutrition and seasonal veggies and fruits.
  • Menu consultation with a registered dietitian
  • Technical assistance on CACFP compliance
  • Bright from the Start Training Hours for the monthly meetings and trainings.
  • Social media and press opportunities
  • Resources and tools to learn about racial equity in the food system and how to address racial equity through Farm to ECE strategies
 
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