Farm to CACFP

What is Farm to CACFP? 

Farm to CACFP includes any CACFP participating facility that incorporates local foods through meals and snacks, lessons, taste tests, farmer and farm stand visits, and/or community and parent involvement. Eating locally produced foods and providing opportunities for nutrition education can lead to: 

  • Increased participation and engagement in meal programs  
  • Consumption of healthier options 
  • Support of local economies



Tab/Accordion Items

  • NC Fresh Produce Purchasing and Prep Guides: Follow this link to the NC Farm to Preschool Network website, then scroll down to find a list of the guides. These user-friendly guides calculate how much fresh produce to purchase and prepare to meet the CACFP meal pattern minimum serving sizes for all age groups (1-2 years, 3-5 years, and 6-18 years), and the tool will calculate how many pounds of various types of produce to buy and serve.
  • NC Farm to Preschool Network: Learn about farm to preschool, access helpful tools and resources, view videos of NC Farm to Preschool in Action, and more. Links are available on this webpage to follow the Network on Facebook, receive the Network’s monthly e-newsletter, and register for the NC Crunch.
  • Go NAPSACC: A nationally recognized online tool to help child care programs meet best practices in children’s healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Growing Minds Day by Day : A compilation of educational resources for use by parents, caregivers and educators. Find activities related to food, gardens, and nature, with activities, literature and recipes.
  • NC Farm to Preschool Monthly e- Newsletter subscribe today. It’s free. Scroll to the bottom of their website where it says, “Subscribe Now."
  • Farm to Preschool Toolkit by Growing Minds: This comprehensive toolkit includes sourcing guidance, PreK lesson plans, “This Week in the Garden” activity guides, and “Farm to School Goes Home” weekly newsletters and more. Also available in Spanish.
  • Farm to Child Care Toolkit by Wake County Smart Start: This toolkit helps child care centers and family day care homes put Farm to Child Care into action. The toolkit includes where to purchase local produce, menu planning, activities for the classroom, resources for kitchen staff and classroom staff, and ways to engage parents and families.
  • Farm to Childcare - NC State Extension: Find links to Childcare Production Gardens publication series, including Growing and Cooking Fruits and Vegetables at Childcare Centers, Creating Childcare Production Gardens, Snacking and Cooking with Warm and Cool Season Produce, Composting, and Vermicomposting in Childcare Production Gardens.
  • National Farm to School Network: Filter by Setting (Preschool/Early Care) to find a variety of resources for Early Care and Education Programs. 
  • USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Farm to CACFP: Find links to FNS and Partner resources related to Farm to CACFP. 

  • Grow It, Try It, Like It: A garden-themed nutrition education kit for child care center staff that introduces children to fruits and vegetables. Each set of lessons contains hands-on activities, planting activities, and nutrition education activities that introduce MyPlate. Includes fun parent/child activities and family-sized recipes that give tips for cooking with children.
  • Harvest of the Month Curriculum: This Farm to Preschool Curriculum was developed at the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College. The curriculum includes 9 months of lessons; each month features four weeks of hands-on activities and lessons, including cooking activities translated into Spanish.
  • Multicultural Collection of Farm-to-ECE Books: These books cover a wide variety of farm-to-ECE-related topics including gardening, farms, cooking, family meals, farmers' markets, and shopping for food. Books feature characters from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; the list includes bilingual and Spanish books for young children.
  • Preschool Lesson Plans from Growing Minds: Exploring local foods and farms with your young learners doesn’t have to be challenging! These preschool lesson plans are an easy way to build connections between the outdoor environment and the classroom while introducing children to new vegetables and fruits.
  • Reach for the Stars with Farm to Preschool: Did you know that Farm to Preschool programming can enhance a child care center’s star ratings? This resource helps child care centers and family child care homes integrate farm-to-parentchool activities into their curriculum while addressing the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). Farm-to-preschool activities are listed along with the ECERS subscale, items and indicators. 

  • Farm to CACFP: Getting Started with Local Foods: This pre-recorded webinar provides tips and resources for getting started with local foods in childcare facilities. Registration.

  • What’s in Season? This colorful chart shows North Carolina fruit and vegetable availability by month.
  • North Carolina Farm Fresh: A directory of pick-your-own farms, roadside farm markets, and farmers' markets throughout North Carolina. It is designed to help consumers find the freshest locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. 
  • USDA’s National On-Farm Market Directory lists markets managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural and/or horticultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm or on property adjacent to that farm.
  • Farm to ECE Local Food Purchasing Guide - NC State Extension: Explore this guide to learn more about local food purchasing, including local food options, how to decide which local food source is right for your center, and best practices for buying local food.

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