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July 27, 2016

Farm to Table for Early Care and Education Programs

The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF) is excited to announce the creation of the Farm to Early Care and Education project, which will bring the farm to table movement to child care programs across the state. The project is funded by a $150,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.

WCCF will partner with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), and Community GroundWorks to successfully implement this project.

Little Farmer

“All kids deserve to eat healthy food,” said Ken Taylor, executive director of WCCF. “Many young children get the majority of their calories in the child care setting and a large portion of these children come from low-income families where they may have a limited access to nutritious food. That’s why it’s important that child care centers are providing healthy foods— something that isn’t happening enough. This program will help improve children’s health AND support Wisconsin’s farmers by promoting local, fresh food in early care and education programs.”

Some of the child care program practices that will be developed, piloted, and promoted include:

  • gardening
  • sourcing local foods for meals and snacks
  • farm field trips
  • nutrition/agriculture lessons
  • taste testing
  • family engagement

The Farm to Early Care and Education project will specifically target vulnerable populations of children who have the least access to healthy food. Healthy habits that begin early in life pay off in the long run with reduced likelihood of chronic conditions (such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease) and future savings on health care costs.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org

Daithi Wolfe, Early Education Policy Analyst