Brooke Wolf of QCS Named CACFP Inspire Trailblazer Award Winner
April 4, 2022
Many people developed new hobbies during the pandemic, from baking bread to learning a new instrument. At Quality Care Services in El Dorado, Kansas, Brooke Wolf brought gardening and farm-to-plate eating to 17 individual sites, 174 children and 135 families.
In addition to its role and service as a CACFP sponsor, Quality Care Services also partnered with the Kansas State Department of Education to implement a Farm to School Sub-Grant Opportunity. QCS awarded 17 individual kits, content specific to their sub-grant recipients. The three content categories included: Beginning Baker, Great Gardner and Quality Coop.
Not only did each Quality Care Services sub-grant recipient implement their specific farm to school category, but they also received materials and resources to support local foods through the entire CACFP plate. Through this program, Brooke successfully increased the quantity of local foods offered throughout the QCS CACFP Sponsorship. QCS recorded over 7,500 pounds of local foods served in nine months from the 17 sub-grantees.
In addition to the Quality Care Services Farm-to-School sub grants, QCS now offers a lending library which focuses on local foods. QCS has small, traveling kits that include children’s books, manipulatives, and activity guides to help any CACFP provider participating with QCS the opportunity to explore local foods with the children in their program. Providers can request to have a kit mailed to them that they can explore and then return to QCS.
Brooke administered this program with such thoughtful care that it shows signs carrying forward long after the pandemic. Each of the Quality Care Services sub-grant recipients have a plan in place for sustainability and ongoing implementation for the grant materials provided. QCS is hopeful to offer a Farm to Plate training to all its CACFP participants to showcase the success of the grant, while bringing increased awareness of what is considered a local food.
These innovative ideas and implementation offered great joy during such a dim time. Covid-19 had many negative effects on providers and their families; however, this grant provided continued positivity for recipients. Many of them were excited to share the success of their first bloom, harvest or gather, while others were thrilled to “make a mess” with the children while creating a local baked good to enjoy for snack. The opportunity for this grant inspired, encouraged and improved the quality of the CACFP throughout the QCS sponsorship. Brooke is the winner in the Trailblazer category of the Inspire Awards for her joyful innovation. Award winners were named during the 2022 National Child Nutrition Conference.