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December 2023
We are taking a look back on successes the Network has achieve over the past few years. Thanks to funding from the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant (FIG), we supported Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) initiatives with a focus on increasing the capacity to facilitate long-term sustainable, comprehensive, and equitable Farm to ECE. View NC Infographic and learn more about our state's strategic plan here
We want to hear from you! Please take five minutes to fill out our survey. We want to ensure that we are bringing you learning opportunities, funding, tools, and resources that are most helpful for you to succeed in your Farm to ECE endeavors. From all of us on the Network, wishing you and your families a wonderful Holiday Season!
2023 Farm to ECE Accomplishments
by Natasha Bowden, Buncombe Partnership for Children
Shape Specialist, and Ellie Morris, Regional Child Care Health Consultant, NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center
photoThis year has been a resounding success for Farm to Preschool sites across NC. From a beautiful video compilation of some of our FIG grantees, to REACH Designations at sites across the state, to a huge outpouring of NC Crunch participation from centers, organizations, and even the NC Government! We have so much to celebrate.
Over the past few years, CEFS (Center for Environmental Farming Systems) Communications Specialist Marcello Cappellazzi created beautiful Farm to ECE videos which showcase the diverse ways that farm to preschool is implemented across the state. The NC Farm to Preschool in Action series can be viewed on NC Farm to Preschool Network YouTube channel. Subscribe here!
For our REACH recognitions the success stories are many! REACH recognizes many successes but here we will just focus on Farm to ECE: ECE Programs recognized by REACH in Farm to ECE meet important best practices like serving locally produced foods, gardening with children, and doing hands-on food education. These best practices support local agriculture, encourage children’s healthy eating habits, and help them learn about farming and the natural world. (per REACH website). There were 6 sites across NC that met best practices for Farm to ECE. At Helen’s Day Care Farm to ECE has been embedded throughout the program with great success! View their success video here.
"We love Farm to ECE because: It has helped us as teachers enhance our children's learning experience. We spend more time outside and the children love planting, watering, gathering, preparing, and eating the fruits and vegetables we have planted. This program has helped our children not only learn where our food comes from but also has given them self-esteem, confidence, and taught them how to work together." - Angela Barker, Helen's Day Care.
View here to learn more about REACH, to apply, or read more about each of the success stories.
photoOur NC Crunch Event held on October 15th 2023, in collaboration with the Farm to School Coalition of NC, was our most successful yet! Some amazing shouts outs and events including one with our very own NC Farm to Preschool Network advisory member and owner of A Safe Place Child Enrichment Center, Kim Shaw! A Safe Place is also a FIG grantee AND is a REACH Recognized Center.

This event saw participation from NCDHHS leaders Susan Osborne, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary of Opportunity and Well-Being, and Dr. Kim Mcdonald, Section Chief for the Chronic Disease and Injury Section in NCDHHS Division of Public Health, along with many others including folks from CACFP. Go Kim Shaw!!
Whip It Up!
by Marianne Lindgren and Willow Thomas
NC Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Is there anything better than the cozy feeling and sweet taste of a holiday treat? What about biting into a crisp and fresh apple, but with a festive twist? This  recipe for apple cut-outs has minimal ingredients and puts a nutritious spin on Holiday cookies. Not only are apples available during the winter, but they are full of Vitamin C and phytochemicals which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, perfect for fighting off a winter cold or flu! Additionally, apples give you an excellent boost of daily fiber. We hope you are able to try this recipe as it is an easy way to get participants involved in preparing a delightful holiday snack!
Apple Cut-Outs
Yield: 6 servings
Snack serving size for 3-5-year-olds: ½ cup apple slices + ¼ cup (2 ounces) vanilla Greek yogurt*

  • 1 pound apples
  • 1 ½ cup (12 ounces) vanilla Greek yogurt*
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
    *Yogurt served in the CACFP must contain no more than 23 grams of total sugar per 6 ounces.
Tools needed: Mini cookie cutters
  1. Wash the apples. The children may enjoy helping with this step. Be sure they wash their hands before washing the apples.
  2. Have an adult cut the apples into thin slices (1/4 inch) or offer supervision if children use child-safe knives to cut the fruit.
  3. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out the center of the apple to reveal the cookie cutter shape. This is another fun way kids can help prepare this snack. Children may need assistance pressing the cookie cutters into the apple slices.
  4. Serve ½ cup of apple slices with ¼ cup vanilla Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.
CACFP Crediting for Snack: ½ cup fruit and ½ oz. eq. meat/meat alternate
Recipe adapted from: 12 Healthy Christmas Snacks for Kids 
Connect with Us!
The NC Farm to Preschool Network connects, educates, develops and shares resources between community and state partners, farmers, early childhood educators and families to spark the local foods movement in early childhood education environments.
The Reading Nook
Animals in Winter
by Henrietta Bancroft
Have you ever seen a butterfly in the snow? Probably not. Butterflies can’t survive cold weather, so when winter comes, many butterflies fly to warmer places. They migrate. Woodchucks don’t like cold weather either but they don’t migrate; they hibernate. Woodchucks sleep in their dens all winter long. Read and find out how other animals cope with winter’s worst weather.
Watch a read aloud of the book
Thank you Omu!
by Oge Mora

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?
Watch a read-aloud on YouTube
Share Your CACFP Experience in This Nationwide Survey
Want to make your voice heard about how to make CACFP work better for childcare programs and families? We want to hear from you! Our goals are to collect YOUR recommendations for policymakers on CACFP based on YOUR experiences. Take the survey. Responda a la encuesta.
 Go NAPSACC's 2024 Consultant Opportunities Calendar is here!
Topics, dates, and registration links are included. Sign up now for Go NAPSACC consultant webinars, office hours, and new consultant trainings!
Click here to download the calendar. 
SPAN Grant Survey
The State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) Grant is a funding program dedicated to promoting and advancing physical activity and healthy nutrition initiatives within the state. This grant aims to support projects and interventions that enhance physical well-being, encourage active lifestyles, and improve nutrition habits among the population. By providing technical assistance and resources, the SPAN Grant collaborates with Farm to Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs on initiatives that integrate physical activity and nutrition education, fostering a holistic approach to health and well-being in early childhood settings.
Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) programs have been proven to boost children's vegetable and fruit intake and help farmers by creating connections to the community, adding new customers, and improving visibility of their farms. As part of the SPAN Grant, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Community and Clinical Connections for Prevention and Health Branch, in partnership with the Division of Child and Family Well-Being, Community Nutrition Services Section, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and the NC Farm to Preschool Network partners are looking into the possibility of and interest in a Farm to ECE interactive statewide mapping system to connect childcare providers (ECE sites) and farmers for easier purchasing or selling of local foods.
This North Carolina statewide mapping system would be county specific and show ECE providers and farmers in each county. ECE providers and farmers would be responsible for completing a free, yearly registration to remain visible on the map. The goal is for this map to be a valuable tool in promoting the use of local foods and building healthier communities across North Carolina. Be part of the process and share your thoughts by completing this interest survey!
2024 Youth Garden Grant
Deadline: December 15, 2023
In early 2024, 50 organizations will be awarded $500 in funding and a collection of gardening supplies for their youth garden program. Among the 50 winners, 10 programs will also receive a specialty award package: five from their friends at Crescent Garden and five from their friends at Garden Tower. The selection of winners is prioritized based on demonstrated need and program impact. Learn more and apply.
2024 Farm to School Grant 
Deadline: January 12, 2024
The USDA Farm to School Program is excited to announce the official release of the fiscal year (FY) 2024 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA). USDA will award up to $12 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the grant program this fiscal year. Learn more here. 
This Week in the Garden
@ Preschool
TWIGS newsletter
See what's happening 
preschool edition! 
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ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)  •  306 W. Haywood Street  •  Asheville, NC 28801

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