This Issue Update newsletter is part of a series that provides more information on each priority issue on the Alliance's 2022 Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda is crafted annually in partnership with early childhood organizations that are advancing legislative policy solutions related to health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education. The nine priority issues were selected by the Alliance's 21 member Steering Committee.


Farm to School and Early Childhood: Nourishing Children’s Bodies and Minds

Vermont Farm to School is a nationally recognized initiative that supports Vermont’s economy, communities, and the healthy development and learning of Vermont’s children by offering hands-on educational experiences with nutritious food, cooking, gardening, and exposure to local farms and food systems. 

This research-informed program has been shown to positively influence eating habits, create healthy lifestyles, support experiential learning opportunities, improve nutritious food access, support teachers’ knowledge of nutrition, and address childhood obesity. 

Act 63, the Farm to School bill, was signed into law in 2017, and allowed both registered and licensed child care providers to be eligible for Vermont Farm to School & Early Childhood grants.

As Vermont works to provide high quality early childhood services including child care, we have an opportunity to support nutrition security, local food systems, and educational outcomes for all children by infusing Farm to School and Early Childhood programming in our early childhood and school systems.

The Alliance supports Vermont FEED and champion organizations in their efforts to increase annual funding to $500,000 for the state’s Farm to School & Early Childhood program. The Governor’s Recommended FY23 budget proposes to level-fund these grants at $171,875. 

An increase to $500,000 for FY23 would ensure that more early childhood settings serving children ages birth through grade three can access program funding for gardening and farm visits, food procurement planning, professional development, and infrastructure and equipment.  


Data and Talking Points

  • 91% of early childhood providers polled are interested in implementing Farm to Early Childhood programming, yet only 21% have been able to access Farm to Early Childhood professional development opportunities.
  • The Farm to School and Early Childhood Grants program has engaged over 50,000 Vermont students since 2007. Nearly 50 early childhood education programs have received grants in the last few years.
  • Farm to School and Early Childhood programming offers concrete food support and fosters community resilience. Every dollar spent on local food contributes an additional 60 cents to the local economy.
  • 93% of early childhood programs offer at least one snack or meal during program hours and 56% of early childhood providers are serving local food one or more times per week. This indicates that there are market growth opportunities in the early childhood community which can support farmers and improve access to nutritious food for our youngest children.

Lead Organizations

Vermont FEED 

Vermont Farm to School & Early Childhood Network

Hunger Free Vermont

BBF Child Outcomes Accountability Team


Resources and Advocacy Tools


Alliance "Legislative Happy Hour" – 2/7: Universal School Meals and Farm to School and Early Childhood

This winter, the Alliance is hosting four virtual “Legislative Happy Hours” leading up to this year’s ECDL. Each session will focus on two issues from the Alliance’s 2022 Legislative Agenda. Joined by representatives from the lead organizations, participants will be able to ask direct questions and hear a brief legislative update regarding the issues.  

The next session will be held Monday, February 7 from 3:30 to 4:15 pm. It will focus on two topics – Universal School Meals and Farm to School and Early Childhood.  

Hosted by Teddy Waszazak from Hunger Free VT and Cynthia Greene from the VT Farm to School and Early Childhood Network, this session is a great opportunity to learn more about child nutrition policies, understand the advocacy efforts to secure funding, and receive an update on where these policies stand in the Legislature.  

Click here to register through Zoom.


The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a statewide coalition formed in 2000 of early childhood professionals, parents, organizations, businesses, and strategic partners committed to improving public policies that impact young children between birth and age eight in the areas of health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education.

The Alliance crafts an annual Legislative Agenda in partnership with early childhood organizations, provides year-round advocacy support, and facilitates meaningful interactions with policymakers at key times during the decision making process.


7 School Street | Montpelier , Vermont 05602

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a program of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

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