2024 Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) Program

Published on January 17, 2024

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Fostering a Connection Between Children and their Food

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE) is pleased to announce applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) program. This innovative nutrition education initiative offers child care locations the opportunity to engage children in learning about healthy, local foods through hands-on activities such as gardening, cooking, taste tests, and nutrition lessons. The program places an emphasis on involving children in the process of growing and preparing fruits and vegetables for meals and snacks, which promotes a willingness to try nutritious foods.

Selected child care providers will receive a raised garden bed with prepared soil installed at their facility. Additionally, they will be given seeds, plants, and the Grow It, Try It, Like It nutrition education curriculum. A Master Gardener from CSU Extension will also offer gardening education and coaching throughout the growing season.

The Farm to ECE program, initiated in 2023 in collaboration with community partners, aims to foster a connection between children and their food by teaching them where local fruits and vegetables come from and how they are grown. To date, the program has successfully served seven child care centers and five child care family homes, providing 11 raised beds, soil, plants, and seeds to each location. This effort has positively impacted 521 children and their families.

Interested child care centers and family homes are encouraged to apply for the 2024 program. The application, along with the signed Farm to ECE commitment, must be submitted by Feb. 9, 2024. Selected applicants will be notified by Feb. 20, 2024.

For more information or to submit an application, please contact Mike Schwan, MS, RD, at (970) 400-2343 or visit weld.gov/go/Farm2ECE.