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Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings: Farm to Preschool

May 05, 2017

Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings (EWPHCCS): Farm to Preschool (F2P) was designed to improve access to and the cost of locally grown fresh produce. This helps address barriers related to poor nutrition and food insecurity.

small boy eating a snap pea at a farmers market

Sales Models: Farmers accept EBT and WIC

As part of the initiative, F2P Coordinators are hired to work with participating child care centers. The childcare centers participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. F2P Coordinators help establish F2P sales models. The sales model helps farmers accept SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.

Coordinators also urge farmers to accept WIC Vegetable & Fruit benefits, and other farmer’s market coupon programs. Other programs include the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) (link is external) that target low-income families.

Education

F2P Coordinators also offer education and food demonstrations that engage parents and child care center staff. The education helps the parents and child care staff to work to increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits at home and in the child day care center.

children sitting outside in grass watching a nutrition educator

Gardening

To integrate EWPHCCS F2P into classrooms, F2P Coordinators provide each intervention child care center with a gardening toolkit and technical assistance for garden establishment.

a garden plot with a child holding a trowel

Program Success

For centers that participate in the program, more people eat 3 or more servings of vegetables daily.

Statistically significant differences were observed for the question “How many vegetables do you usually eat each day?” both outside of NYC (p=0.0004) and within NYC (p=0.0002). Specifically, more respondents reported eating 3 or more vegetables daily at follow-up than at baseline for both centers Outside NYC (29.3% vs. 19.3%) and centers within NYC (39.0% vs. 21.8%).

Type of Program

Direct nutrition education and policy, systems, and environmental change

small girl holding a bunch of carrots she harvested

Years of Implementation

2014-present

Number of Participants

12,150 potential direct, unduplicated reach

Target Audience

Preschool age children and their parents or caregivers

girl holding sunflowers at a market

Program Evaluation

At each participating center, a brief anonymous “Dot Survey” was conducted to capture information about fruit and vegetable purchasing behaviors of target families. Pre-surveys were administered 1-2 weeks prior to the implementation of the EWPHCCS F2P project in each respective market. Follow-up surveys were conducted mid-market season in August.

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the NYS Department of Health.


This post was submitted by Lisa Borden of the New York State Department of Health, an implementing agency of SNAP-Ed. For more information, please email CACFP@health.ny.gov.