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Partnerships Make Child Care Center Serve Children and Families Fresh, Healthy Foods

Under Secretary Concannon heard about fresh peaches and the variety of colors that watermelon comes in from the children at Plaza de Niños in Kansas City.

Under Secretary Concannon heard about fresh peaches and the variety of colors that watermelon comes in from the children at Plaza de Niños in Kansas City.

Every chance I get I try to see our nutrition programs at work to get a true sense of how we are improving the lives of millions of people we serve. While I was in Missouri yesterday, I stopped in at the Guadalupe Centers’ Plaza de Niños. That’s a child care center on the Kansas City Metro Community College campus. 

The staff there use Food and Nutrition Service’s Child and Adult Care Food Program and have initiated a farm-to-school partnership with Good Natured Family Farms and Buy Fresh Buy Local Kansas City to get local fresh fruits and vegetables into the meals and snacks they serve. The colorful, well-designed center serves as a lab for MCC students going through the child care degree programs.  

I met with the center’s director, Alexis Delaney, GNFF Sustainability Director Otavio Silva, and some staff from the college, the Francis Institute that provides the space, and the Family Conservancy that operates the Head Start program there and provides nutrition education.  

The Center also has a small garden in raised beds growing peppers, tomatoes and a few other vegetables to get the children involved in gardening and show them where food comes from.  For an afternoon snack during my visit, the children chose from several kinds of watermelon, fresh, sliced peaches, and, as a special treat, homemade vanilla ice cream, all from local farmers.  

As hot as it was yesterday, the ice cream and fresh fruit were perfect choices, and it was all delicious.

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