Wisconsin Farm to ECE

Wisconsin Farm to Early Care and Education (Farm to ECE) is an initiative to encourage edible education, gardening, and cooking activities with young children. These activities teach children where their food comes from and build their confidence to grow, select, and prepare fresh food. WI Farm to ECE celebrates our connections to food through nature, our cultures and identities, and each other. It can bring children, teachers and staff, families, local farmers, and food producers together in a network of support to work toward a more equitable food system that values every child and provides them with educational experiences and quality food for their growing bodies.


Initial conversations about promoting healthy eating, cooking, and gardening activities with Wisconsin’s youngest population took place in 2012. It was originally called Farm to Preschool. Rooted (formerly known as Community Groundworks) was at the forefront, leading the initiative through the Wisconsin Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative (WECOPI), now known as Healthy Early.

In 2015, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation identified Wisconsin as one of five states to be funded for a new initiative: Farm to Early Care and Education (Farm to ECE). Three, community-based organizations were awarded these funds: The Parenting Place, Rooted, and Kids Forward (formerly Wisconsin Council on Children and Families).

Five years of Farm to ECE funding from Kellogg was instrumental for building a foundation for the Farm to ECE movement in Wisconsin. The Parenting Place worked directly with child care programs on creative learning and playing initiatives, and through the Supporting Family Together Association, The Parenting Place worked with the Child Care Resource and Referral networks around the state to promote the work. Rooted developed training programs and resources for early childhood educators, and with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, they incorporated Farm to ECE training courses into early childhood educators’ accreditation systems. Kids Forward worked on Farm to ECE policies so the work could have lasting, systemic impacts. Most recently, Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families has included Farm to ECE as a quality care component in ECE systems.


Read more

Name Summary View
Growing the Farm to Early Care and Education Movement a report from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation about work being done in several states including Wisconsin View
Equity and Collectivity in Early Childhood Healthy Eating an article from Kids Forward View
WEESSN + Parenting Place +Local Farmers = New Farm to ECE Purchasing Pilot for Child Care Providers an article from the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association View