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Open AccessArticle

Farm to Early Care and Education Programming: A Descriptive Study of Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Healthful Foods to Young Children

1
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80532, USA
2
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO 80246, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186857
Received: 20 August 2020 / Revised: 17 September 2020 / Accepted: 17 September 2020 / Published: 19 September 2020
Interest in farm to early care and education (ECE) programming, which consists of gardening, nutrition education, and local food procurement, has been growing in the United States, as it may be a promising technique for promoting healthful foods to young children. However, there is limited information about current farm to ECE efforts in specific states, including Colorado, to support funding and resource needs. An online survey was distributed to licensed Colorado ECE providers in two phases to understand current participation in the farm to ECE as well as provider perspectives on benefits and barriers to programming. A total of 250 surveys were completed. Approximately 60% of ECE facilities participated in gardening and nutrition education with providers almost unanimously agreeing on the child-centric benefits of programming. Fewer facilities (37%) participated in local food procurement likely due to significant time, cost, and knowledge barriers. To increase participation in farm to ECE as a technique for promoting healthful foods to young children, future efforts should focus on innovative solutions to reduce ECE-specific barriers. View Full-Text
Keywords: child; preschool; child day care centers; child health; education; gardens; farms; food child; preschool; child day care centers; child health; education; gardens; farms; food
MDPI and ACS Style

McCloskey, M.L.; Kesterson, H.; Mena, N.Z.; Dellaport, J.; Bellows, L.L. Farm to Early Care and Education Programming: A Descriptive Study of Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Healthful Foods to Young Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6857.

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