Farm to early care and education helps children and families eat more local foods.

Michigan Farm to ECE

Early care and education (ECE) programs can use farm to ECE to help children learn better.

Farm to ECE includes purchasing and serving local foods in meals and snacks, as well as experiences like gardening with children and other educational activities related to food, nutrition, and agriculture.

Children and families eat more local fruits and vegetables when ECE programs offer farm to ECE.

Farm to ECE can be beneficial in any setting, including:

  • Licensed family child care homes
  • Unlicensed family child care homes
  • Child care centers
  • Head Start or Early Head Start programs
  • Privately funded preschools
  • State-funded preschools
  • Preschool or child care based in K-12 schools/districts
  • Tribal child care programs

Why use farm to ECE?

  • Improve children’s eating behaviors, including their willingness to try new foods
  • Develop children’s awareness and knowledge of healthy eating, where food comes from, seasonality, gardening, and agriculture
  • Serve more healthy foods in early care and education settings
  • Connect with community partners to increase resources such as garden supplies, food vendor sources, and buying capacity
  • Support local farmers and food businesses
  • Deepen family engagement through gardening opportunities, sharing family recipes and food preferences, and influencing healthy eating in families


Learn more:

  • Michigan Farm to School

    Sharing ideas, tools and resources to support a range of efforts to serve local foods in schools and early care and education settings.

  • Michigan Farm to Institution Network

    Seeking new approaches to institutional food purchasing. Growing Michigan institutions’ capacity to serve local food. Expanding markets for food grown, raised and processed in Michigan.

  • Cultivate Michigan

    Cultivate Michigan is a statewide campaign to help farm to institution programs grow.