October is National Farm to School Month.

https://www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/celebrate-national-farm-to-school-month/

Farm to CACFP Week October 21-25, 2019, is a week dedicated to celebrating CACFP. Here is the website http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/child-and-adult-care-food-program/farm-to-cacfp/.  Want to learn more about Farm to CACFP? Watch this webinar or call Bee Thorp at 804-864-7827 or email her at brittany.thorp@vdh.virginia.gov.

What is CACFP? 

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at participating childcare centers, daycare homes, and adult daycare centers.

CACFP provides funding to serve nutritious meals to children enrolled in child development programs and before and aftercare programs. CACFP promotes school-readiness by providing nutritious meals that aid children’s cognitive and physical development. The program may serve up to two meals and one snack per day. Studies show that CACFP meals are nutritionally superior to those served to children in childcare settings that don’t participate in the program. The program can also supplement the budgets of low-income families and child development providers.

What is the purpose of Farm to CACFP Week?

Farm to CACFP connects participants to educational activities that incorporate nutrition education, local and seasonal food, and gardening, all while supporting Virginia agriculture. The week offered an opportunity for daycare homes and centers to do something special to celebrate their Farm to CACFP activities.

At Jackson Child Care, the week’s celebration was filled with exciting activities. Like most, we began the week with a celebratory planned curriculum to expand the children’s early learning skills. We had lesson plans with a “Signs of Fall” Theme.   The “Theme” remained throughout the week. However, based on the children’s interest in pumpkins, we revised the daily lessons and activities.  Halloween events, along with our previous week’s engagement (to include participation in a P is for Pumpkin early literacy library program and our Annual Family Fall Festival celebration at the local pumpkin patch) laid the foundation for us to help the children make meaningful connections across the early learning domains. Throughout the week, the children brainstormed about pumpkin exploration and different types of pumpkin foods. Our learning covered seasonal foods, farmers harvest, books about pumpkins, and a farmers’ market visit. The children generated a wish list of food for our Cooking with Kids series: muffins, bread, cookies, pancakes, and pies. Here is a listing of our weeklong celebration:

Monday:          Getting Ready to Celebrate https://photos.app.goo.gl/shDaLTfuRsG576Vt8

Tuesday:           Pumpkin Science/Exploration https://photos.app.goo.gl/tFiLUtZeWkqq22AX8

The Kiddos made a list of pumpkin foods to explore. Resources- https://growing-minds.org/lesson-plans/pumpkin-exploration-preschool/  and https://growing-minds.org/?s=pumpkin

Wednesday:     Made Pumpkin Soup  https://photos.app.goo.gl/NUG3iZRtZzq22RqX6

Thursday:         Farmers Market Field Trip https://photos.app.goo.gl/8BFkJSMPtbU2mUVg8

Made Pumpkin Muffins https://photos.app.goo.gl/5LAmUCx6ikRvv7BX9

Friday:              Made Pumpkin Bread https://photos.app.goo.gl/wNoA8wiCud8FpRbd7

It was a fun week of learning, playing, and growing for us all. Start making plans to join in next year’s celebration. Visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/grow-it-homes  and request a copy of Grow it, Try it, Like it! Books from USDA–the ones for Family Day Care Providers. Friends, this is an excellent must-have free resource, curriculum with lesson plans, cooking with kids’ recipes, marketing ideas, and more.  In the interim, find a farmer’s market near you, purchase some vegetables and support our local farmers.

We want to thank everyone for all their hard work. We are thankful for the opportunity to be part of this year’s Farm to CACFP Week Celebration. October 21-25, 2019 was a week filled with access to professional development resources as well as early learning opportunities. The week was an epic celebration with generational healthy eating habits and life skill development benefits. Hats off to Virginia Agriculture and the Farmers.

Here at Jackson Child Care, we pledge to maintain and to promote healthy eating habits throughout the year!