Meet the 2022 Michigan Grow More Award Recipients
We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Michigan Grow More Award.
The Michigan Grow More Award is intended to acknowledge early care and education providers and farmers and food producers doing extraordinary work in farm to early care and education. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) in Michigan includes local food procurement, gardening, and nutrition education for children ages 0-5 in early care and education settings. Children, families, early care and education providers, and farmers all benefit from farm to ECE.
As a part of October’s Farm to School Month celebrations, we are excited to announce the recipients of this award in the following categories:
Procurement, Gardening, and Nutrition and Agricultural Education:
The Dreamery at Edison (YWCA Kalamazoo)
The Dreamery's April Schmidt was nominated for teaching children and families about gardening and encouraging them to prepare and eat healthy foods. Children are served fresh foods from the on-site garden and the YWCA chef teaches them about the different foods they eat. April also engages children and families in educational activities and events based on healthy eating.
The Family Growth Center
The Family Growth Center’s Angela Bunker was nominated for introducing children to a variety of produce using the Grow It, Try It, Like It curriculum; maintaining a hands-on garden at the site; creating healthy meals for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP); and distributing fresh produce from the garden to the children and their families.
LACC Child Care Academy
LACC Child Care Academy’s Laurie Clark was nominated for partnering with local organizations such as Keep Growing Detroit to provide children and families with healthy produce grown on their property or from other Detroit-based growers. Additionally, LACC provided children the opportunity to participate in nutritional programs provided by Michigan State University to improve their knowledge and stimulate healthy eating habits, and through their partnership with the Child and Adult Care Food Program, offers guidance and resources to promote nutritional awareness and beneficial outcomes.
Pam Flood, a family-based provider, was nominated for her focus on modeling healthy behaviors, engaging kids and staff in healthy behavior conversations and lessons, and creating hands-on, immersive learning experiences that create a positive learning environment, increase nutritional awareness, and positively influences health outcomes. The children in Pam’s care participate in starting all the plants for the onsite garden (and take-home plants) from seed and engaged in mini-lessons about what seeds and plants need to thrive. As the plants have started bearing fruit this summer, Pam has engaged the kids in harvesting and tasting the produce and has incorporated some into their meals and snacks.
Gardening and Nutrition and Agricultural Education:
Cassie’s Daycare, run by Cassie Dulock, was nominated for gardening with and providing nutritional education to the children in her care. The children love being a part of planting, watering and picking the produce. As the individual who nominated this site said, the children “look forward to sampling everything they grow – it doesn’t last long!”
Clare United Methodist Church Preschool and Child Care Center
Clare United Methodist Church's Laura Mater was nominated for starting a garden with pumpkins, herbs, and tomatoes and teaching the children in her care how to tend to the garden. The lesson plans also include discussions of how plants grow, and the children “love harvesting and eating the tomatoes and herbs, especially the dill!”
Kayla’s Kiddos Childcare
Kayla's Kiddos, run by Kayla Wright, was nominated because the children in her care learn about farm fresh foods and are involved in gardening fresh produce. The children’s curriculum involves learning about and sampling nourishing foods to set a healthy foundation from the start.
Little Ones Learning LLC
Little Ones Learning, run by family-based provider Trisha Dart, was nominated for involving her home daycare children with education and hands on experience growing their own food. This year they grew beans and cucumbers in the backyard and were able to help pick and eat them for lunch times. Mrs. Trisha also has a Fall field trip to a local orchard where the children learn about apple picking and get to pick a pumpkin from the patch. She goes above and beyond as an early childhood educator to give the children hands on and memorable experiences.
Deeply Rooted Produce (Dazmonique Carr)
Dazmonique Carr with Deeply Rooted Produce was nominated for offering an innovative grocery delivery service focused on delivering local produce grown by BIPOC farmers to customers in the city of Detroit. Dazmonique connected with a childcare provider because she is interested in serving the ECE community and working more with 10 Cents a Meal grantees who receive match grant funds to purchase Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes. She demonstrated a deep intention and care for serving providers in Detroit and working with them. Dazmonique is taking steps to institutionalize practices that assist 10 Cents a Meal grantees with their reporting requirements and has just completed her first sale with a 10 Cents a Meal ECE grantee in Detroit.
Thank you to all of those who submitted nominations. And a big thank you to the early care and education providers and farmers who are leading the way in farm to early care and education!
This award, created by the Michigan Farm to Early Care and Education Network, will be offered in future years to honor and acknowledge early care and education providers and farmers/food producers who support farm to ECE with their work.