Farm to CACFP

Virginia’s Farm to CACFP initiative connects participants to nutrition education, Virginia grown foods, and gardening opportunities. Through these activities, CACFP participants learn about Virginia agriculture while building their knowledge of and interest in healthy foods.

Farm to CACFP COVID-19 Resources

While many people throughout the US are experiencing food insecurity during this time and finding food is in limited supply at the grocery store, farmers are also finding it difficult to access markets in order to sell their food. This makes our jobs more important than ever, as we have the ability to bridge this gap. Below are some resources and ideas to help connect you to local food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Significance of Farm to Early Care and Education in the Context of COVID-19
  • Learn about safe gardening practices during COVID with this resource.
  • Practice safe taste tests and nutrition activities during COVID by learning more here.
  • Learn more about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares in early care settings here.
  • Search VA Farmer’s Market Association’s Google doc. It includes details on which markets are still open and includes any changes in operation.
  • Access Dr. Yum's Virtual Guide to Healthy Eating During COVID-19
  • Visit Eat Smart, Move More VA for healthy meal resources.
  • Tap into National Farm to School Network’s COVID-19 ECE Resources.
  • Connect with Farm to Family Food Boxes:
    The USDA Farm to Family Food Box program has selected distributors to purchase produce, dairy, and meat products from farmers and producers and distribute them to families through partnerships with local non-profit organizations (including food banks, schools, and community sites). If your ECE site or non-profit organization has the operational and financial capability to receive, store and distribute requested food items, contact an awarded distributor near you.
  • Looking for additional resources? We are here to help! Please email cacfp@vdh.virginia.gov with any questions.

Activity Inspiration

From taste tests to farm visits, Farm to CACFP includes anything pertaining to Virginia agriculture, which includes food or gardening education, or eating seasonal or local food. Farm to CACFP is comprised of three elements:

Here are a few activity ideas. If you have activities that are not listed below, please share them with us!

  • Taste test with local and/or seasonal foods (different varieties of apples, different colored carrots, etc.)
  • Add a local food item or dish to your menu
  • Maintain a garden
  • Nutrition education activities
  • Visit a grocery store or farm
  • Cooking or food preparation demonstrations
  • A farmer or gardener visits your center
  • Connect with a community garden for field trips or collaboration

What’s in Season?

Click here to download a helpful chart of what’s in season in Virginia throughout the year.

Connect with Local Food

Visit Virginia Market Maker to find local producers in your area. Click on "search" to find suppliers in your specific county.

Find a Farmers’ Market through the Virginia Farmers Market Association

Connect with local food distributors that only source Virginia grown foods:

4P Foods
Local Food Hub
Appalachian Sustainable Development

GoGreen Farms

Crunch Heard Round the Commonwealth

Don’t have time for a Farmers’ Market visit? Ask your grocery store or food distributor if they have local produce—often times they do!

Connect with Local Partners

FeedVA’s interactive map is an excellent source for connecting with local partners.
Local VA Farm Bureau Offices have volunteer boards that conduct different activities.
Virginia Cooperative Extension can connect you educational opportunities and to Master Gardeners.

Connect to Educational Resources

USDA’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! Educational Toolkit for Child Care Centers. Order online or email cacfp@vdh.virginia.gov for a free toolkit.
USDA’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! Educational Toolkit for Family Day Care Homes. Order online or email cacfp@vdh.virginia.gov for a free toolkit.
National Farm to School Network’s Early Care and Education resources
Harvest for Healthy Kids Lesson Plans organized by fruit/vegetable 
Growing Minds Preschool Lesson Plans
Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, Harvest of the Month Materials

Rooted Celebrating Seasonality recipes

Virginia Department of Education Harvest of the Month materials

Promote and celebrate Farm to CACFP

Use #VAFarmtoCACFP and #VACACFP to promote your program on social media.

We want to hear about the work you’re doing! Please click below to share your activities with us.

Virginia’s Farm to CACFP initiative is strengthened by the work of partners and community members who provide their expertise via the Virginia Farm to CACFP Workgroup. If you are interested in learning more about the workgroup, please email cacfp@vdh.virginia.gov