Farm-To-Child: A Pilot Program

On July 13, 2018, ten preschool-aged children and 4 child care providers visited Sweet Water Foundation for the launch of a pilot food program called Chicago Fresh, a farm-to-child initiative developed in partnership with the Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion. The initiative seeks to increase access to and understanding of healthy produce to early child care educators and in-home providers. Read on to learn more about the new initiative.

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During the initial visit, children explored the Perry Ave Commons and saw, firsthand, where some of their favorite vegetables come from - corn, green beans, zucchini, potatoes, and cucumbers. With a new understanding and excitement, the SWF team and Chicago Fresh educators have begun to develop a curriculum that can be used by other child care providers.

Beyond the Farm
Via the Chicago Fresh Initiative,  a participating early child care educator from the Chicago Fresh Initiative visits Sweet Water Foundation’s Farmer’s Market each Friday to pick up produce, continue to build relationships with the team, and further develop the curriculum for the new initiative. Produce from SWF is taken to an early care center and prepared as snacks and meals for the children each week. As the children eat, they are reminded where the food came from and how it was prepared by the educators.

A Model for Future Programs
Sweet Water Foundation’s impact and reach are being extended on a regular basis with programs and connections like Chicago Fresh. This pilot program demonstrates the possibility of feeding children healthy, affordable, and accessible food through the development of relationships between local organizations and educators. Chicago Fresh is the beginning of many connections between the Perry Avenue Community Farm and child care providers.

Courtney Hug