About the Program

One of the best ways to develop healthy eating habits that will last for a lifetime is to expose children to fresh fruits and vegetables at an early age. Early Childcare programs across the country have introduced farm and garden activities into their schools. Activities include field trips to local farms, incorporating local produce into menus, planting vegetable gardens, and including fresh produce in lesson plans. However, as with all food products, food safety is an important concern. Young children are at greater risk for foodborne illness so it is essential to minimize this risk.

Food Safety from Farm and Garden to Preschool is an online training program that can be used by educators, foodservice staff, parents and school volunteers. Each Unit includes videos, interactive activities such as sharing boards and the creation of best practices planning tools. The program is designed to:

  • Improve the understanding of food safety risks relating to fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce the risks associated with foodborne illness in young children.

The program is divided into five units:

  1. Farm to Preschool Benefits
  2. Fresh Produce and Foodborne Illness Risks
  3. Food Safety Basics for the Classroom and the Kitchen
  4. Food Safety and Gardening Activities
  5. Food Safety on Field Trips to Farms and Farmers’ Markets


The first three units are considered the core units and need to be completed before receiving a certificate of completion. The program will direct you through these units sequentially. Units 4 and 5 are optional and will be available once you finish Units 1 – 3.

To GET STARTED, click LOG IN on the Home Page to register. If you have additional questions about the program click on the FAQ link for commonly asked questions. If you can’t find the information you need, contact the principal investigators listed below.

Nancy Cohen, PhD, RD, LDN
Professor and Department Head
University of Massachusetts,
Department of Nutrition
100 Holdsworth Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9282

Catherine Violette, PhD, RD, LDN
Extension Professor and Nutrition Specialist
University of New Hampshire,
Department of Molecular, Cellular, & Biomedical Sciences
219 Kendall Hall
UNH, Durham, NH 03824-3590


Principal Investigators

Nancy Cohen, PhD, RD, LDN
Professor and Department Head
University of Massachusetts
Department of Nutrition

Catherine Violette, PhD, RD, LD
Extension Professor and Nutrition Specialist
University of New Hampshire
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences

Advisory Committee

Jessica Collins, Deputy Director
Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., Springfield, MA

Kim Concra, Nutrition and Food Safety Specialist
Community Nutrition & Food Safety, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, Barnstable, MA

Erin Murphy Craft, Regional Director, Springfield
Department of Early Education and Care, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Springfield, MA

Philip Korman, Executive Director
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), South Deerfield, MA

Brian LeTendre, Licensing Supervisor
Department of Early Education and Care - Western Office, Springfield, MA

Kathleen Millett, Executive Director
Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety Programs
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,
Nutrition, Health & Safety Programs, Malden, MA

Rita Brennan Olson
Partnership for Food Safety Education
Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Sara Teece, Food Service Director
Square One, Springfield, MA


Lynne Thompson
NEP Marketing and Design Director, UMass Extension
Nutrition Education Programs, Amherst, MA

Cathy Wickham
Research Assistant
Nutrition Department
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA


Pelham Elementary School, Amherst, MA

The Rocking Unicorn Nursery School, West Chatham, MA

Square One Springfield & Holyoke, Holyoke, MA

Stepping Stones Too, Cotuit, MA


Coonamessett Farm, East Falmouth, MA

Piccadilly Farm, Winchester, NH

Farmers' Markets

Holyoke Farmers’ Market, Holyoke, MA
Hamilton Orchards
McKinstry Market Garden
New Lands Farm
Nuestra Raices
Pioneer Valley/New England Growers Co-op
Special Acknowledgements

Center for Educational Software, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Philip Bascom, Alex Karpinski, Amanda Mattingly, Matthew Mattingly, Gail Parsloe, Lily Zhu

Rikk Desgres, Pinehurst Pictures & Sound

Cindy Rice, Eastern Food Safety

Acknowledgement for Resources
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Clemson University, Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packing Science

Colorado State University Extension Safe Food Rapid Response Network


Glo Germ


Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Knox County Health Department


Life Lab Science Program

Massachusetts Department of Early Education

Massachusetts Farm to School Project

Massachusetts Partnership for Food Safety Education

Minnesota Department of Health

Network for a Healthy California, California Department of Public Health

New Hampshire Farm to School Program

North Carolina Cooperative Extension

North Carolina State University, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

NYS Department of Health

Partnership for Food Safety Education

Ohio State University Extension, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

The Center for Ecoliteracy

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

USDA Healthy Meal Resource System, TEAM Nutrition

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

USDA and the Partnership for Food Safety Education

University of California Cooperative Extension

University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension, Center for Agriculture

University of Minnesota

University of Mississippi, National Food Service Management Institute

University of Missouri, Extension

University of New Hampshire, College of Health and Human Services

Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College