Farm To Preschool And Families in Springfield, MA
Local Hero member • organic
"Farm to Preschool and Families is an innovative initiative"
Partners For A Healthier Community, 140 High Street
Springfield, MA 01105
Fax (413) 794-1451
Partners For A Healthier Community, P.O. Box 4895
Springfield, MA 01101
The Farm to Preschool and Families project is an innovative initiative that starts in early education and care sites providing high quality, local produce to preschool children and their families, exposing them to healthy eating habits. Each partnerâ€”Early Education and Care (EEC) organizations, local farmers and distributors, Springfield Early Childhood Education Partnership (SECEP), MA Farm to School, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and The Food Bank of Western MA â€”realizes its own potential to impact the lives of children through this cooperative effort and once to scale, provide access to healthy foods for approximately 5000 low-income children in the Greater Springfield community. Our participating preschools include: YMCA of Greater Springfield, Square One, Children's House, Early Childhood Centers of Springfield, The Community Music School/Prelude Preschools for the Arts, Boys & Girls Club Family Center, New Beginnings Child Care Center, New North Citizens Council, and Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield HeadStart. The collaborative seeks environmental and policy changes at the organizational and local community level, through large-scale changes in procurement, distribution, retail, marketing, preparation and consumption systems. In order to address the quality of caloric intake of preschoolers, changes need to be made to food services. Most ECC organizations and family-based day care centers independently purchase the same types of food, buying low-quality affordable products based on convenience, financial constraints and often a lack of nutritional knowledge. Enormous potential exists to create an entire system change through a partnership between preschool organizations, families, local farmers, food banks, distributors, funders, and local and State policy advocates. This robust approach is transformative, testing innovations immediately, improving work processes and creating new relationships and collaborative networks by learning how to work smarter and more effectively. These are the cornerstones for longer term sustainable results.
—Joan Lowbridge-Sisley, Project Manager
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