SNAP-Ed 101 Leader Resources

SNAP-Ed Explained infographic

These resources were developed by the State Agency Relationship subcommittee of the Program Development Team (PDT).  The resources are designed to assist a new LGU SNAP-Ed Leader and those associated with SNAP-Ed programs to gather pertinent information and to provide some background information in order to support their SNAP-Ed program.  The resources includes:

FY18 SNAP-Ed and EFNEP State Impact Reports

We have received the following states FY18 impact reports on their SNAP-Ed and EFNEP work during the 2018 fiscal year.  Click on the name of each state to view the corresponding report:

Building Tomorrow’s Leaders through Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR)

Image from YPar Project

The Issue
Youth live, play, eat, shop, and learn in their communities but are rarely included in decision making processes that directly impact their health and nutrition, such as related school district policy-making, neighborhood design, food access, and advertising placement. Engaging and building the capabilities of youth as leaders is an important step toward effective policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes. 

What Has UC CalFresh Done?
UC CalFresh’s Youth Engagement Initiative, launched in 2016, gets youth involved in promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity. To facilitate youth participation in PSE changes, El Dorado, San Mateo, and Imperial County initiated Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) projects during the 2016-2017 school year. YPAR engages young people in research and action that builds their skills and fosters strong, just communities and institutions.

Each county team pursued a unique strategy based on local youth interests and opportunities:

  • In El Dorado County, a PhotoVoice and YPAR project with Georgetown Elementary School sixth graders focused on improving nutrition by purchasing a healthy vending machine.
  • In Imperial County, an afterschool YPAR project at Meadows Union Elementary School focused on expanding physical activity opportunities for 6th-8th graders.
  • In San Mateo County, an in-school YPAR project with Pescadero High School students worked to improve the school meals program and communication between students and decision-makers.

The UC Davis Center for Regional Change and the Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition provided ongoing technical assistance and program documentation. Support included in-person trainings, one-on-one coaching, and resources to assist youth to use mapping tools and data to identify needs and build their cases for PSE changes.

The Payoff

YPAR helped youth build leadership skills to create change in their communities.

Through YPAR, the counties combined direct nutrition education with PSE change, built and leveraged local partnerships, empowered young people to take on leadership for youth health, and helped youth develop research and presentation skills.

  • In San Mateo County, students surveyed their peers and advocated to add smoothies to the lunch menus. After presentations to school and district officials, their peers, and attendees at the Childhood Obesity Conference, their recommendations were implemented in May 2017.
  • In Imperial County, students met after school and mapped out their school resources, surveyed their peers, and analyzed publically-available physical fitness and obesity data for the school to advocate for new physical activity equipment and approval of a playground stencil project. After presentations to school and district officials and their peers, their recommendations were approved.
  • In El Dorado County, students researched options for purchasing a healthy vending machine. They presented their findings to the principal, food services staff, teachers and their peers. This project will continue with a new cohort of youth next year.


To read more about these YPAR projects, please see Moving from Serving Youth to Engaging Youth, which documents the counties’ work.

Clientele Testimonial

“I got involved with the Youth Food Alliance because they were serving healthy food; I stayed involved because I was making the community healthier.” – Youth Researcher


Supporting Unit:

Brandon Louie, MS, Community Engagement Coordinator, UC Davis Center for Regional Change,

Metria Munyan, Youth Engagement – Project Manager, Public Health Institute, Center for Wellness and Nutrition,

Anne Iaccopucci, 4-H Healthy Living Academic Coordinator, UC ANR, Ca. State Office,

Andra Nicoli, MA, Program & Evaluation, UC CalFresh State Office,

SNAP-Ed Brochure

SNAP-Ed Brochure image

Land-Grant universities, and their partners, work to provide vital nutrition assistance programming and information through SNAP-Ed.  The LGU SNAP-Ed Program Development Team undertook developing and disseminating this brochure as part of strategic planning to market their collective work to internal and external partners. Download the brochure electronically or use for informal printing.  Contact Sandra Jensen at to receive copies of the brochure.

2018 SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Meeting

2018 SNAP-Ed PDT Team Picture
2018 Program Development Team Members.  Not all team members were present for the photo.

Land-Grant University System SNAP-Ed Program Development Team
Report of Accomplishments and Action Items
Annual Work Meeting – April 10-12, 2018, Alexandria, VA

The Land-Grant University SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) met in Alexandria, Virginia to review progress, refine strategic plan implementation, and develop key action steps for the upcoming year.  This 15-person team represents all Extension regions and is comprised of family and consumer science program leaders and other university administrators, SNAP-Ed program coordinators, an office manager from the Land-Grant University (LGU) System, and a federal partner from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The team conducts bimonthly conference calls, subcommittee work, and an annual face-to-face meeting to improve the consistency and effectiveness of Extension SNAP-Ed programming to address national health and nutrition-related problems facing low-income populations in the context of Extension’s broader low-income nutrition education portfolio.

Highlights of the last year and work meeting plans for upcoming year include:

  • Evaluation and Reporting. The most recent LGU SNAP-Ed Report, Executive Summary, and two-page Infographic, based on FY 2015 data, was shared with state agency partners at the National SNAP Directors’ Meeting. Plans were made to assemble an updated report using 2018 data to show the effects of Extension’s implementation of SNAP-Ed across the nation.  The PDT also plans to submit a proposal on Extension SNAP-Ed programming for the next National SNAP Directors’ meeting.
  • Collaboration for Shared Understanding.  The PDT manned a display at the National SNAP Directors’ meeting.  One PDT member served as a liaison to the Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA) evaluation team to ensure that PDT efforts aligned with partner implementing agencies.  Toolkit resources are in final development for Extension SNAP-Ed coordinators to support state agency relationships, leverage partner relationships, and internally communicate the Extension SNAP-Ed mission and outreach.  Multiple resources are planned for dissemination in next few months.
  • Communication.  The PDT prepared Monday Minute submissions for Extension directors and administrators and reported on regional SNAP-Ed coordinator calls to keep LGUs informed of SNAP-Ed developments and PDT contributions.  They also partnered with the Community Nutrition Education Community of Practice to post yearly stakeholder reports, SNAP-Ed PDT documents, and LGU successes.  PDT Co-Chair, Laura Stephenson, shared highlights of PDT efforts with FCS leaders and ECOP leadership.  She and other team members worked with ECOP leadership to provide data and success examples in response to legislative inquiries regarding SNAP-Ed’s reach and effectiveness.  This year, the PDT will hold monthly calls and increase communications with colleagues, Extension leadership, and partners given the current level of interest and activity surrounding SNAP-Ed.
  • Professional Development and Cross Training.  PDT members provided leadership and dissemination support for on-line PSE training and development through collaboration with Regional Nutrition Education Centers of Excellence (RNECE). Technical assistance training for SNAP-Ed coordinators and specific training for new coordinators are planned for the current year via web-based technology. Another focus of PDT efforts will be the updating and further development of core competencies for staff across multiple areas of responsibility in support of nutrition education for limited resource individuals.
  • Educating Policy Makers.  PDT members provided collective Extension SNAP-Ed data upon request of ECOP leadership. Resources are in final stages of development to explain legislative processes for bill reauthorization to aid in understanding the federal nutrition education program and funding pathway. These resources will be disseminated in April.
  • Strategic Planning.  The PDT strategic plan focused efforts on: 1. Strengthening LGU and state agency relationships; 2. Keeping abreast of the current policy climate; 3. Enhancing internal communication among LGUs; and 4. Building shared expertise across LGUs.  This strategic plan continues to guide PDT activities and deliverables.  Specific deliverables and initial timelines and actions steps for each focus area were finalized for the current year.

Throughout the year, the PDT purposefully promoted the strength and capacity of Extension outreach efforts to efficiently and effectively develop, deliver, and evaluate multi-level educational approaches to positively impact the health and well-being of limited resource individuals. Additionally, PDT members focused on mentoring colleagues, building and sustaining critical partnerships with other implementing agencies, and promoting the importance of a nationwide system of nutrition education and evaluation expertise through the LGU System.

Members of the LGU SNAP-Ed Program Development Team for 2018-2019

North Central Region

Pat Bebo, Asst. Director, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension, The Ohio State University (term ended; will serve 1 year as ad hoc representative)

Candance (Candy) Gabel, State Coordinator – Director, Nutrition and Health Ed., University of Missouri (new)

Christine Hradek, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP Coordinator, Iowa State University

Megan Ness Ditterick, EFNEP/FNP Coordinator, North Dakota State University

Northeast Region

Patsy Ezell, Assistant Director FCS, University of Maryland

Lisa Sullivan-Werner, FNP and EFNEP Leader, University of Massachusetts

Elise Gurgevich, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP Coordinator, Penn State University (new)

Southern Region

Karla Shelnutt, Associate Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist, University of Florida

Michelle Vineyard, Extension Specialist TNCEP, University of Tennessee (retired mid-year)

Renda Nelson, Better Living for Texans State Program Director, Texas A&M University

Ivy Murphy, SNAP-Ed Coordinator, North Carolina A&T University (served partial year); 1890 representative

Andrea Morris, Health and Nutrition Specialist/Program Manager EFNEP and SNAP-Ed, Alabama A&M University (new); 1890 representative

Western Region

Donna Sauter, ICAN Director (SNAP-Ed & EFNEP), New Mexico State University

Sally Bowman, Program Leader SNAP-Ed & EFNEP, Oregon State University

Executive Committee

Laura Stephenson, Assistant Dean, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Tennessee Extension

Jill Thorngren, Dean, College of Education and Human Sciences, South Dakota State University

Sandra Jensen, Office Manager SNAP-Ed through the LGU System, South Dakota State University

Helen Chipman, National Program Leader Food & Nutrition Education, NIFA/USDA

To download a copy of the highlights of the meetings, visit 2018 PDT Committee Meeting Highlights.

RNECE Final Report

RNECE final report graphic

The Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Centers of Excellence (RNECE) National Coordination Center at the University of Kentucky released their final RNECE report recently.  This report includes the RNECE recommendations for future work in nutrition education for limited resource families in the United States.  Each regional center also has a report provided.  Please visit the RNECE Final Report for the complete report. 

Texting Programs in SNAP-Ed

Text2BHealthy image

Creating a text message based program has shown to be a non-conventional way to provide nutrition education to SNAP-Ed participants.  There are many programs across the country that have implemented a text message program in their state.  This is a list of programs that has been shared with the CoP with a general description of their current texting program and program contact information.

Alabama SNAP-Ed at Auburn University 

Alabama SNAP-Ed at Auburn University uses text messaging to engage parents of 3rd graders in a school-based obesity prevention initiative, Body Quest. Each year, parents of 3rd graders participating in Body Quest are invited to join the Recipe Tester Club for Body Quest Parents. Simultaneously with the 15-week Body Quest intervention with 3rd graders, parents receive a series of inexpensive, simple and kid-friendly vegetable recipes to prepare and “test” with their children at home. Parents provide their cell phone numbers on consent forms and are enrolled to receive text messages. Parents are sent action-oriented texts three times each week. Text messages include tips for improving personal and family eating, shopping and physical activity practices.

In the 2017-2018 school year, 4,348 parents were enrolled to receive texts using SMS messaging software, SimpleTexting. To coincide with Body Quest activities in schools, parents were assigned to treatment and control groups. Treatment parents (n = 2,394) had 3rd graders in the treatment group of Body Quest receiving obesity prevention education in school. Control parents (n = 1,954) had 3rd graders in the control group of Body Quest receiving delayed intervention after pre- and post-assessments were completed.

At the end of Body Quest, 54% of original treatment parents continued to receive texts through the initiative and participated in a post-survey texting poll. Parents texted responses to a series of questions and gave feedback on their experience with Body Quest and the Recipe Tester Club.

Alabama texting graphic

For more information, contact Katie Funderburk, MS, RD (

Colorado Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP)

The Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP), and The Culture of Wellness in Preschools (COWP) are programs through the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center at the University of Colorado School of Public Health.  We provide a creative and fun way for kids to learn about healthy eating in their classroom and to share what they learn with their families. Parent engagement is very important to our program.  As part of our efforts to engage parents, staff, and community members, we are developing a free text messaging program. The major themes of our messages will be Healthy Eating Behaviors, Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behaviors, Healthy, Parent Engagement, Feeding Relationship, and Food Resource Management.

Text2BHealthy will be launched this month in approximately 45 elementary schools statewide, and 65 early childhood sites.  We will be working on multiple outreach efforts to continue enrolling parents into the program. If you have any questions feel free to contact Maria Saldana,, or Julie Atwood,

Health mPowers (Implementing Agency in GA)

HeathMPowers provides text messages to families of students in grades K-5 as part of the elementary school-based SNAP-Ed program, Empowering Healthy Choices in Schools, Homes and Communities. Families opt in to the initiative by texting a designated keyword to HealthMPowers. Participating families receive bi-weekly nutrition and physical activity tips, recipes and additional resources for shopping on a budget and being active as a family.  The messages are tied to monthly nutrition and physical activity themes, and weekly activities students are learning in the classroom through a nutrition and physical activity day planner provided to each child.   The texts, available in English or Spanish, provide consistent messaging across grade levels and reinforce key behaviors.

During the 2016-2017 school year, 1041 families were enrolled.  In September 2017, 916 families re-enrolled to continue receiving the text messages during the upcoming 2017-18 school year. Some did not re-enroll because their child had moved on to middle school. To date, there are over 1300 families enrolled in the texting initiative.

HealthMPowers also started a texting pilot for Early Care and Education during the 2017-18 school year. These text messages correspond to the themes used in the elementary texts, but are tailored to the needs and information for families of pre-school children. In addition, early care teachers receive the texts along with resources and strategies to reinforce the weekly messages in the classroom.

For more information, contact Kendall Charlton at

Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE)

Maryland developed Text2BHealthy in January 2012 as an indirect method of reaching parents with nutrition education. Text2BHealthy is a text message program targeting parents of elementary school students who are currently receiving classroom-based nutrition education.  Text2BHealthy provides parents with “nutrition nudges” 2-3 times per week on nutrition-related school and community activities, grocery store specials, and physical activity ideas. Messages are targeted and focus on encouraging families to take action and specific to the individuals school and community.

Text2BHealthy currently has 29 schools participating  across the state of Maryland and has over 2100 parents enrolled.

Text4HealthyTots is a text message based program in Maryland that is targeting parents of children ages 3-5. Messages give parents tips for feeding their children fruits and vegetables, healthy meal and recipe ideas, trying new foods, and being active as a family. Parents will receive 1-2 messages per week with ideas that relate to the time of year and often link to our blog, website, and Facebook page for more information.

Maryland uses Mobile Messaging by Upland Software as their software platform for sending messages.  For more information, contact Laryessa Worthington

Michigan State University Extension
Michigan State University Extension has two small texting programs. One aims to provide parents with quick actionable tips, as well as recipes related to nutrition and being healthy as a family. This project began in September and we have 37 participants. Originally, we tried to solely recruit through our Healthier Child Care Environments PSE initiative and had minimal participants. Then we shared information about it on social media, which is how the majority of the participants were recruited. Two text messages are sent out each week – one actionable tip and one recipe.

The other text program MSU Extension has is for Flint parents who have been impacted by the Flint Water Crisis to provide them with recipes and tips for using their food assistance benefits effectively. There are 141 participants who receive about 1 text message a week. Less frequently, as they occur, we send community events and resources that are available to the residents. We recruited at community events beginning in June.

MSU Extension uses the free platform, Remind, to deliver both of these initiatives. Remind allows for scheduling of messages in advance, shows how many people received the message, and also how many read it. It also allows the participants to react (“like”) a message and you can also set up two-way communication if desired. While you can do all of these things, the analytics are not displayed readily; you have to look at each message individually. Remind is user-friendly, able to be managed by multiple people, and many of our participants are familiar with the program because a lot of teachers use it to communicate with parents.

For more information, contact Erin Powell, MS RD LDN at

Rhode Island SNAP-Ed at University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island SNAP-Ed has incorporated text messaging into its programming since 2015. RI SNAP-Ed successfully utilizes text messaging with participants in two primary ways: as reminder texts for upcoming SNAP-Ed programming, and as motivational reinforcers at the conclusion of series programming. Reminder texts have increased in popularity for both farmers’ market events (now year-round) and series workshops. Motivational texts serve as continuation of nutrition education after in-person programs have been completed; these are customized to either adult or parent audience and are delivered twice per week for four weeks, followed by a final survey to assess post-text behavior change. Texts are personalized to include the initial of the program leader and are offered in English and Spanish. Participants sign consent forms in order to be enrolled.

In FY2017, RI SNAP-Ed sent out a total of 2,738 texts, up 49% from the previous year. Breakdown of text type was as follows: 35% of texts to Adults for adult education reinforcement; 12% to Parents for parent education reinforcement; 38% went as reminders of upcoming farmers’ markets and other events; 13% contained links for post-text evaluation survey; and 2% of texts were interactions with participants e.g. replies to texts.

Contact Kate Balestracci, MS RD at for more information.  

Rhode Island Sample Text messages

Washington State University Extension

Reaching Rural Parents in New Ways: TEXTING!

As part of the Communication Initiative, Text2BHealthy (T2BH) was piloted to increase access to adults through 16 participating schools that serve as community hubs in rural settings. Participants were recruited via direct events at the beginning and middle of the school year, as well as indirectly via posters, flyers, and the school websites.

WA State Texting infographic
2,185 targeted behavioral text messages resulted in 331 participants receiving 27,111 indirect contacts over 42 weeks.

Customized texts included the following themes:

Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan Counties:  Physical activity, fruits and vegetables in season at local fresh markets, and tasty low cost recipes.

Grays Harbor, Skagit Counties: Physical activity, local sales where SNAP clients shop, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and reinforce direct education topics.

Behavioral Outcomes include:

  • 71% increased physical activity
  • 76% ate more fruit and vegetables
  • 55% saved money at the grocery store
  • 56% prepared and served text-linked recipes
Related Framework Indicators:  Healthy Eating Behaviors (MT1), Food Resource Management (MT2), Physical Activity (MT3), Physical activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior (MT4), Nutrition Supports (MT5), Physical Activity Supports (MT6)
Socio-Ecological Framework:  Individual/Family, Social and Cultural Norms and Values, Environmental Settings
Approaches: Indirect Education; Systems Change

The texting platform that WA State Extension used to send their text messages was Twilio.  For more information, contact Kathleen Manenica at

FY17 SNAP-Ed and EFNEP State Impact Reports

FY17 Impact report highlight image

We have received the following states FY17 impact reports on their SNAP-Ed and EFNEP work during the 2017 fiscal year.  Click on the name of each state to view the corresponding report: