Highlighting Nutrition Education Programs in Schools

School based programming is a key opportunity to reach our target population in SNAP-Ed.  Two programs shared their Smarter Lunchrooms work.  Read more about their programs below:

Michigan State University

In 2016-2017, in partnership with Team Nutrition over 90 schools received the Smarter Lunchroom initiative. In addition, over 40 schools received the Fuel Up To Play 60 program in partnership with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. Trained Michigan State University nutrition professionals provide support in completing the pre and post assessment for each initiative as well as the implementation of 10 Smarter Lunchroom scorecard items or a Healthy Eating and Physical Activity play for Fuel up to Play 60. Many of the schools are receiving Smarter Lunchroom, Fuel Up to Play 60 as well as direct education using Show Me Nutrition for a true educational experience!   For more information on the work at Michigan State University, contact Dawn Earnesty, MS RDN (wilcoxd4@anr.msu.edu).

Fuel Up to Play 60 participants at MSU

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Food waste is a major issue in the United States. Schools are one of the most important sites for food waste reduction efforts because they hold a daily captive audience that can be influenced to make better choices. Additionally the state recently passed a law aimed to reduce the amount of food waste in New Jersey by 50 percent by 2030. Through the training and technical assistance of the Family and Community Health Science Educators the Paterson Public School system reduced food waste by approximately 90,720 pounds district wide for the school year. Working with the food service.  For more information, contact Sara Elnakib, RD, MPH, CHES (elnakib@njaes.rutgers.edu).

Smarter lunchrooms lunch line

2017 SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Meeting

2017 PDT committee

2017 Program Development Team Members.  Not all team members were present for the photo.

The Land-Grant University SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) met in Alexandria, Virginia to review progress, implement a strategic planning process, and develop key action steps for the upcoming year. This 16-person team represents all Extension regions and is comprised of Family and Consumer Science Program Leaders and other university administrators, SNAP-Ed Program Coordinators, and an office manager from the Land-Grant University (LGU) System, and a federal partner from NIFA. The PDT team meets through bimonthly conference calls, subcommittee work, and an annual face-to- face meeting to improve the consistency and effectiveness of SNAP-Ed programming through the LGU System in addressing national health and nutrition-related problems facing low-income populations.

Highlights of the meeting and the last year include:

  • Evaluation and Reporting. Publication and dissemination of the SNAP-Ed FY 2015 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education through the Land-Grant University System Report, Executive Summary, and two-page Infographic.  LGUs, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and NIFA were provided hard copies and notified of electronic versions. Members of ASNNA, a national association of SNAP-Ed implementing agencies, were notified of electronic version availability.
  • Collaboration for Shared Understanding. The PDT provided a display at the National SNAP Directors’ meeting. Two PDT members served in ASNNA leadership roles to ensure that LGU programs were at the table for implementing agency discussions.
  • Communication. The PDT prepared Monday Minute submissions to keep LGUs informed of SNAP-Ed developments and PDT contributions. They also partnered with the eXtension.org Community Nutrition Education Community of Practice to post yearly stakeholder reports, SNAP-Ed PDT documents, and LGU successes. PDT Co-Chair, Paula Peters shared highlights of PDT efforts at FCS Leader and ECOP meetings. She also drafted a document to articulate differences between EFNEP and SNAP-Ed at the request of ECOP leadership and provided feedback on LGU SNAP-Ed leadership expertise.
  • Professional Development and Cross Training. PDT members facilitated participation in SNAP-Ed PSE competency training and engaged Rural Development Centers to provide a webinar on the potential intersect of SNAP-Ed and Community Development. PDT members also provided leadership and collaboration for PSE training and development through collaboration with Regional Nutrition Education Centers of Excellence (RNECE).
  • Educating Policy Makers. PDT member, Angie Abbott was invited to attend a House Ag Committee call, following which, former PDT member, Jo Britt-Rankin was invited to provide oral testimony and current PDT member, Pat Bebo submitted written testimony on LGU SNAP-Ed impacts.
  • Strategic Planning. In February, an Ad Hoc Committee met to review LGU SNAP-Ed stakeholder input on current needs of LGU SNAP-Ed implementers, identified common themes, and considered what could be addressed through PDT efforts. This committee developed an overview of five issues as a precursor to strategic planning development by the full PDT. The issues identified included: 1. Integration of policy, systems and environmental (PSE) approaches, direct education and social marketing; 2. Strengthening LGU and state agency relationships; 3. Keeping abreast of the current policy climate; 4. Enhancing internal communication among LGUs; and 5. Building shared expertise across LGUs. In April, PDT members developed a 2017-2020 strategic plan based upon the Ad Hoc Committee recommendations, to guide PDT activities and deliverables over the next three years. Goals, action steps and members’ tasks were developed for 2017-2018.

Throughout the year, the PDT has played a critical role in educating about nutrition education for low-income families. Members have directly and indirectly communicated the importance of SNAP-Ed to decision makers, have provided formal or informal mentoring to colleagues in the LGU System and have addressed critical programmatic needs the LGU System faced during changes created by new legislation, regulations, and guidance. Thank you to members who have completed their service on the PDT: Paula Peters (Kansas State University), Jamie Dollahite (Cornell University), Kathleen Manenica (Washington State University), Angie Abbott (Purdue University), Mindy Meuli (University of Wyoming), De’Shoin York-Friendship (Southern University)

Members of the LGU SNAP-Ed Program Development Team for 2017-2018

North Central Region

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

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

Pat Bebo, Interim Assistant Director FCS, Ohio State University

Northeast Region

Patsy Ezell, Assistant Director FCS, University of Maryland

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

Southern Region

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

Ivy Murphy (1890 rep), Try Healthy SNAP-Ed Project Coordinator, North Carolina A & T State University

Michelle Vineyard, Extension Specialist TNCEP, University of Tennessee

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

Western Region

Adrian Kohrt, FNP Coordinator, University of Alaska

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, University of Tennessee Extension

C.Y. Wang, Associate Dean & Associate Director, 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  2017 PDT Committee Meeting Highlights.

FY16 SNAP-Ed and EFNEP State Impact Reports

Alabama report graphic

The following states have provided their FY16 impact reports on the SNAP-Ed and EFNEP work conducted during the 2016 fiscal year.  Click on the name of each state to view the corresponding report.

Article Published in Journal of Society of Nutrition Education & Behavior (JNEB)

Providing nutrition education to participants


Three members of the Community Nutrition Education Community of Practice recently had an article published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) in August 2016.  The article entitled What Does Evidence-Based Mean for Nutrition Educators? Best Practices for Choosing Nutrition Education Interventions Based on the Strength of the Evidence reviews current evidence to determine the likelihood that a given intervention produces the desired outcomes and how this evidence can be applied to nutrition education. 

To access the full journal article, click here.  


Tennessee Farmers Market


In Tennessee, a team of state specialists working with the University of Tennessee Extension SNAP-Ed: Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education (UT SNAP-Ed: TNCEP) program in the Department of Family and Consumers Sciences (FCS) have launched a state-wide social marketing program – Farmers’ Market Fresh.  The primary objective of Farmers’ Market Fresh is to encourage limited-resource families to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption through farmers’ markets.  

Throughout the summer, FCS County Agents, para-professionals, and assistants have booths at farmers’ markets where they offer food demonstrations, recipes, and research-based advice on best ways to select, prepare, and store some of our favorite summertime items.  The best part of the program – each person who stops by the booths receives a recipe card for the food being demonstrated.  At the end of the season, consumers could have an entire collection of recipes all featuring items fresh from the farmers’ market.  Adults, however, are not the only ones who learn from the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth.  Children enjoy a sample of the food prepared, and they are able to participate in a weekly children’s challenge.  Through the challenge, children are able to earn prizes for the fruits and vegetables their families purchase, prepare, and taste at home.  There is even some buzz that a special visitor – Rudy the Raccoon – makes an appearance at the markets.

During the pilot year (FY 2015), Farmers’ Market Fresh was implemented at 15 farmers’ markets.  A total of 121 food demonstrations were presented resulting in 29,071 educational contacts.  310,651 indirect contacts were made through exhibits, newspaper articles, publications, social media, and television segments.  As a result of the programming, fruit and vegetable consumption increased among the participants.  Additionally, SNAP redemption at the pilot markets increased by over $3,600.

Farmers’ Market Fresh is currently in its second year of implementation with programming occurring at 39 farmers’ markets across the state. 

Georgians Have a New Learning Resource at the DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market

GA Mobile Farmers Markets

The University of Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (UGA SNAP-Ed) offers shortened free nutrition education classes in a series known as “Food Talk: Farmers Market.” Adapted from full-length “Food Talk” curricula by faculty and staff from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Food Talk: Farmers Market nutrition education is a collection of short classes taught by UGA Extension staff at stops along the “FRESH on DEK” DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market route. 

“We are very excited to provide this new curriculum for our SNAP-Ed program in DeKalb County,” said Judy Hibbs, Nutrition Program Coordinator for UGA SNAP-Ed. “The Mobile Market is very popular in the community, and county staff are doing a great job of recruiting participants from shoppers and delivering sessions.”

The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market provides access to healthy, affordable food at multiple stops in food deserts and low income communities throughout the county where fresh produce might be hard to come by. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (SNAP benefits), credit cards, checks, or cash and is a program of DeKalb County Extension. “The great part about our new curriculum is that it’s designed to be completed in a short amount of time,” Hibbs added. “Shoppers at the Mobile Market don’t typically have as much time to spend learning as participants do in the full Food Talk class, so people can still learn something even when they’re in a rush.”

Food Talk: Farmers Market offers eight lessons that are taught by SNAP-Ed peer educators and cover topics like how to make healthy choices when dining out; adapt traditional Southern recipes to reduce sodium and increase vegetable servings; and how to plan meals and shopping trips to save money.  Participants can take different classes at the same location on different weeks or visit multiple Mobile Market sites to benefit from each lesson.  “Food Talk: Farmers Market has been a tremendous addition to the Mobile Market this season,” said  Edda Z. Cotto-Rivera, County Extension Agent for SNAP-Ed. “These programs are making real differences in people’s lives, and participants have shown great enthusiasm for what they are learning.”

UGA SNAP-Ed is building upon the existing Food Talk lessons to include topics on obesity in addition to adapting lessons for use at farmers markets and in an online course known as “Food eTalk.” Healthy Child Care Georgia, an additional project in UGA SNAP-Ed, is a multi-level Policy, Systems, and Environment (PSE) intervention for early care and education (ECE) centers being piloted in Athens-Clarke County.

“We have a great need for this type of program in the state of Georgia, and we have a capacity to meet that need,” said Jung Sun Lee, an associate professor in the department of foods and nutrition who serves as principal investigator for UGA SNAP-Ed.

Food Talk: Farmers Market is provided by UGA SNAP-Ed for SNAP-Ed eligible Georgians and classes are currently being offered only in DeKalb County. Those interested in attending a Food Talk: Farmers Market class may find how to contact the local UGA extension office at www.foodtalk.org. Visitors to the website may click the green “Attend a Class!” in the main navigation to find local contact information.

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program Providing Support at Farmers Markets

WVU Mom's Everyday video segment on WSAZ

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program has been providing support to SNAP farmers markets throughout the state over the last 2 years. Many markets have received signage to attract SNAP customers and educators are working with markets to offer educational activities, cooking demonstrations, tasting opportunities and even have obtained grant funding to offer Double SNAP dollars. Efforts to attract SNAP customers to the markets continues to be a struggle but the WVU Family Nutrition Program are expanding their media campaign to include television.

As part of a contract with WSAZ, a local news station, Family Nutrition Program administrators and educators are teaming up to talk about the programs and services available to low income audiences through SNAP-Ed. On June 20, SNAP Coordinator, Kristin McCartney and health educator Jennifer Spriggel, offered a segment on farmers markets to an audience of over 50,000.  

Summer Feeding Programs in North Carolina

Summer Feeding Programs in North Carolina



The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education is a non-profit SNAP Ed implementing agency dedicated to educating and empowering North Carolina’s children, youth and their families to make choices that increase positive health behaviors. Since establishing its Raleigh facility in 1991, the Poe Center has provided health education to over one million children throughout North Carolina.  

The Poe Center was Wake County Public School System’s first open summer feeding site for free, healthy lunches, and is partnering with Child Nutrition Services for the fourth year. Other agencies and community volunteers are getting on board and helping to attract more children and their families: Volunteer Zumba and Yoga instructors; Delta Dental; Muddy the Mudcat, mascot of our local minor league baseball team; Marbles Children’s Museum; and, NC State Mascots Mr. and Ms. Wuf are all graciously volunteering time and effort to enhance the Poe Center’s summer feeding program, encourage kids to follow MyPlate, and get their 60 minutes of physical activity a day.  During the summer of 2015 Poe served over 800 lunches on their PlayWELL Park. In the first two weeks of Poe’s 2016 Summer Feeding Program almost 200 children received a free lunch.

Additionally, this summer Poe Center staff and interns are partnering with other agencies to provide SNAP Ed and activities at other newly established Wake County open feeding sites.  Poe Center hopes to expand their SNAP Ed programming into other North Carolina counties summer feeding sites in 2017!