Iowa Insights: National Farm to ECE Survey Results

December 20, 2018

The National Farm to School Network and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems released survey findings of more than 2,000 early childhood providers.  Nationally, we learned several uplifting themes and statistics to enlighten our work. As we focus on our state-wide reach in Iowa, what did we learn about the landscape here at home?

  • Large response rate

    • Iowa had the highest response of any state, with 167 respondents.

  • Significant base of current involvement

    • 51% reported current farm to ECE activities, and an additional 26% have plans to start in the future. 

  • Implementation across setting types

    • The majority of the responses came from Licensed Family Child Care (62%) Child Care Centers (19%) and Private Preschool settings (13%)

  • Early childhood educators are experienced in farm to ECE activities

    • 79% of respondents have been doing farm to ECE activities for at least 1 year, most have been doing for more than 5 years. 

 

We would like to celebrate the success of this data collection. If you completed the survey, or helped someone else complete the survey-- thank you. This helps us make data informed decisions for our work. 

 

So, how can this inform our future work? 

 

  • Survey results suggest disparities in farm to ECE activity in early childhood programs serving low income families

    • 48% of programs serving no low income families noted doing farm to ECE activity as compared to 22% of programs serving 100% low income families.

  • Cost of local products remains number one barrier

    • 31% reported this as a major barrier. 

  • Connections made between the early childhood sector and local and regional food systems would likely increase local purchasing. 

    • Next major barriers include seasonality of fruits and vegetables (24%), knowing how to order local items (16%) and finding suppliers/farmers (15%). 

 

For more information, review the State Level Data: 2018 National Farm to Early Care and Education Survey. 

 

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