A CACFP Training Garden - Community Action of Eastern Iowa

This particular Child and Adult care Food Program (CACFP) garden is used for training.  The CACFP Sponsor,Community Action of Eastern Iowa, gardens every year in order to engage their providers and the children in gardening.  I came across the pictures on Facebook and asked a few questions so we could share this wonderful project with you.  Congratulations Community Action of Eastern Iowa, thank you for going the extra mile to help your providers and children learn in a hands-on fashion!  Follow the garden via this Facebook Photo Album!

1) Why was the garden started? 
The garden is used for training day care providers and children on how to plant and care for food items. Some items are annual and others perennial. Some odd items are planted just to see what it would look like, such as cotton and a banana tree. 

2) Did you get a grant for materials? 
CACFP is able to afford the regular costs of maintaining the garden. Some CSBG funds were used for paying for tilling contractor and wood for raised beds.

3) Are you using it as a training tool? 
Yes. Training can be done by appointment for 1 or 2 hour time frames. We encourage providers to bring children for 1 hour and then come back in a month to see the changes for the 2nd hour. We also offer a large group training each month during the growing season.

4) Inspiration? 
The garden idea comes from finding that hands on training works best for many providers and children.

5) What has it been like so far? 
This is 2nd year for a garden. Last year the response was noticeable in that several providers brought children and feedback was positive. Issues with weather or pests are good learning experiences for all.

6) Anything else you'd like to share? 
We have invited other departments of the agency to use the garden as training. We also plan to give away produce as it comes available to agency clients.


Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on ChildCareInfo.com is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building ChildCareInfo.com.