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June 2024
“Starting to eat and sleep outside stemmed from recognizing the numerous benefits associated with outdoor living. Inspired by the desire for a more natural and rejuvenating lifestyle, our team embraced the idea and found it greatly improved our overall well-being."
—Kim Shaw, A Safe Place Child Enrichment Center, Raleigh, NC
Let it Grow! 
by Courtney Ramsey-Coleman
NCDHHS Healthy Eating and Nutrition Security Coordinator

photoTest tasting in the garden at a childcare site is an enriching and sensational experience for young minds. As the children venture into the vibrant outdoor space, their curiosity is sparked by the array of colors and scents surrounding them. With guidance from educators, they can pluck fresh produce or herbs straight from the earth, eagerly examining each leaf, stem, or fruit. Engaging their senses, they can explore textures, smells, and tastes, learning about the origins of their food firsthand. Laughter and excitement may fill the air as they sample nature's bounty, discovering the delights of crunchy carrots, juicy tomatoes, or crisp lettuce. Additionally, the garden setting encourages children to be more adventurous with tasting foods, as they are often more willing to try new things when they have a hand in growing them. In the garden, children cultivate not just plants, but also a lifelong appreciation for the wonders of nature and the joys of wholesome nourishment. Check out this link for more resources on taste testing in the garden.
Whip It Up!
by Marianne Lindgren & Willow Thomas
North Carolina cucumbers are in season, and what better way to enjoy them than with refreshing Greek yogurt dips bursting with garden-fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs like dill, mint, parsley, and more can transform simple Greek yogurt into a flavorful dip. Try out the herb combinations below or have fun creating your own!
  • Classic Comfort: Dill, mint
  • Mediterranean Escape: Oregano, thyme, rosemary
  • Unique Twist: Cilantro, chives
Let the kids get involved by picking fresh herbs from the garden. After they wash their hands, ask the children to give the herbs a gentle rinse under cool running water and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Next, they may enjoy tearing larger herbs into small pieces and gradually adding them to the yogurt. For a more even flavor distribution, an adult should finely chop herbs to mix into the yogurt. The amount of herbs added may vary depending on taste preferences. So, grab your cucumbers, whip up a Greek yogurt dip, and explore the world of herbs.
Fresh Cucumbers & Flavorful Dips: A Summer Delight! 
Yield: 6 servings
Snack serving size for 3-5 year-olds: ½ cup cucumber sticks (about 6 sticks) + ¼ cup Greek yogurt


Fresh Cucumbers: 1.25 lbs. (cut into 3 inch by ¾ inch unpared sticks)
Greek Yogurt Plan: 1 ½ cups
Freshly picked herbs: Your choice; amounts may vary
  1. Rinse fresh herbs under cool water and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
  2. Tear or chop herbs into small pieces.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine prepared fresh herbs with Greek yogurt.
  4. Refrigerate until serving.
  5. Wash cucumbers, then cut into sticks.
  6. Serve 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt dip with 1/2 cup of cucumber sticks (about 6 sticks).
CACFP Crediting for Snack: ½ cup vegetable and ½ oz. eq. meat alternate. 
This Week in the Garden
@ Preschool
TWIGS newsletter
See what's happening 
preschool edition! 
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
Cucumber Soup
by Vickie Krudwig
Ten ants find that a cucumber has fallen and blocked the entrance to their home. The ants are strong, but the cucumber is too heavy for them to move alone. Find out what other garden critters come to the rescue! Do you see any of these insects in your garden? Don’t forget to try the recipe! 
The Hike
by Alison Farrell
Three intrepid young female explorers set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest, enjoying the process in their own different ways. Wren brings a sketchbook and a flag,
El brings a poetry notebook, and Hattie brings feathers (and holds Bean the dog’s leash). They get lost and use maps to find their way. They draw wildlife, spot deer tracks, and see a deer before it startles and disappears, all before they finally and joyfully reach their destination. Read aloud on YouTube.
Farm to Early Care & Education (ECE) Initiative
by Shironda Brown
NC Farm to Early Care & Education Initiative Training Coordinator
The Farm to Early Care & Education (ECE) began whole center training to educate teachers, center director’s, and community members about the Initiative. The training sessions consist of an overview that describes the mission and purpose of the Initiative along with fun hands-on activities to facilitate their learning process. 
During the learning session we highlight the following four components of the Farm to ECE Initiative: Gardening, Cooking w/for Children, Local Food Purchasing, & Racial Equity. Participants are taught the meaning of each domain area and how to implement the different components within their early childhood classrooms.
The Farm to ECE Initiative is also proud to announce that we have summer interns to help in each of the collaborative counties this year. Pictured below are the Summer Interns engaging in a gardening training given by Kyle Hood at the Guilford County Extension Office on May 15. This training was given as an orientation to working with ECE children in the garden. We covered a lot of information during this training that our interns can’t wait to share with the childcare centers in their counties.
The Farm to ECE Connections Map functions as a resource for connecting childcare sites with local farmers, aiming to promote the use of locally sourced foods, build stronger connections, and contribute to the creation of healthier communities throughout North Carolina. Are you on the map yet? If not, you can register here.
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ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)  •  306 W. Haywood Street  •  Asheville, NC 28801

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