The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts across food and early care and education (ECE) systems that has exacerbated inequities and racial injustices in food, health, and education. While severely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis, the ECE sector and food and agriculture systems are ripe with opportunity to build back with greater equity and resiliency. Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) can be a component of building back better.

Funding is a necessary resource to build up and carry out farm to ECE activities. There are a variety of funding sources that states, localities, and organizations have strategically used to support the procurement of culturally relevant local foods; gardening activities; and food, nutrition, and agricultural education for ECE sites. This guide provides functional descriptions of actionable and timely funding streams, including an overview of the funding eligibility requirements, allowed uses, timeline, flow of funds, and strategies for action. The guide also highlights case examples of how entities across the country are creatively leveraging funding streams for farm to ECE. The purpose of this guide is to prepare and position farm to ECE partners to effectively apply for funding.

Funding opportunities highlighted in this guide are for states, localities, government agencies, and community-based organizations. The funding streams are organized into three overlapping categories: food and agriculture, health and nutrition, and early care and education. Each funding opportunity is followed by a recent state or local example of how the funding has been actively leveraged for a range of farm to ECE activities.