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.

Farm ECE includes a range of activities and approaches that connect young children and their families to local food, hands-on gardening opportunities, and food and agriculture education. Funding is a necessary resource to build up and carry out farm to ECE activities. This guide provides functional descriptions of timely funding streams relevant to states, localities, government agencies, and community-based organizations. The guide also highlights case examples of how entities across the country are creatively leveraging funding streams for farm to ECE.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) funding and support is an important resource that can be leveraged for farm to ECE activities. Uses of CACFP for farm to ECE include defraying the costs associated with local food procurement, helping pay for garden development and maintenance, and supporting nutrition education. In addition to CACFP information provided in the guide, you can view this infographic and presentation for more information on leveraging CACFP for farm to ECE.