2019 SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Meeting

2019-2020 Program Development Team Members.  Not all team members were present for the photo.


Land-Grant University System SNAP-Ed Program Development Team  Annual Work Meeting Report: Action Items and Accomplishments April 16-18, 2019, Alexandria, VA

The Land-Grant University SNAP-Ed Program Development Team (PDT) is action-oriented, proactive, and focused on long-term projects. This 17-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.  In 2019, an EFNEP Coordinator was added to the team to help facilitate coordination among SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, and other Land-Grant University extension low-income nutrition education programs.  A second Family and Consumer Sciences Administrator was added to the Executive Committee to share volunteer leadership responsibilities.  The team conducts monthly 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.

At its annual meeting in April, the PDT reviewed progress, refined and updated its strategic plan implementation, and developed key action steps for the upcoming year.  Specific deliverables were identified, building upon past efforts.  These included:

  • Providing training to support SNAP-Ed leaders in educating legislators and stakeholders;
  • Developing and disseminating onboarding resources to help new SNAP-Ed leaders have a successful start and other resources to strengthen programming across the LGUs;
  • Improving coordination, complementary efforts, and synergy across the LGUs and with additional partners to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication;
  • Preparing a SNAP-Ed LGU National Report on comprehensive approaches and impacts; and
  • Fostering communication among LGUs and with other implementing agencies and stakeholders.

The PDT’s ongoing goals are to support programming, professional development, and partner engagement in ways that will best serve the SNAP-Ed population.  The updated strategic plan is being finalized and will be shared shortly with Extension Directors/Administrators, FCS Leaders, and SNAP-Ed Directors/Coordinators.

Highlights of the last year include:

  • Legislative Education. A primary focus for the year was to ensure that Extension leadership and others had current, relevant, and accurate information.  The PDT gathered data, developed content for stakeholders, created a SNAP-Ed brochure, and responded to requests from ECOP.
  • Strengthening Program and Developing Colleagues. A second priority was the development of program staff.  Resources were created for a SNAP-Ed 101 primer that is under development.  PDT members also provided training, mentored new coordinators, and addressed questions from colleagues.  They held a web-retreat for LGU-Extension SNAP-Ed Directors to discuss hot topics and share best practices. 
  • Building and Sustaining Critical Partnerships. The PDT manned a display at the National SNAP Directors’ Annual Meeting.  Several PDT members also served as liaisons with Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA) committees to ensure that PDT efforts aligned with priorities of other implementing agencies.  Resources were developed for strengthening interactions with State agencies.  PDT members met with USDA FNS contacts to consider how to support agency priorities. 
  • Enhancing Communication and Shared Understanding. PDT members facilitated increased calls and more consistent communication within and across extension regions. PDT developed resources are available at https://community-nutrition-education.extension.org, the community nutrition page on the eXtension website.  Program impact reports from 28 states and the District of Columbia for the past year have also been posted. This “community,” currently at 233 members, continues to grow.


Members of the LGU SNAP-Ed Program Development Team for 2019-2020 (as of August 2019)

North Central Region

  • Christine Hradek, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP Coordinator, Iowa State University
  • Jennifer McCaffrey, Assistant Dean, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Illinois (new)
  • Lisa Ross, Program Manager, EFNEP and SNAP-Ed, Kansas State University (new)


Northeast Region

  • Elise Gurgevich, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP Coordinator, Penn State University
  • Joan Paddock, EFNEP Coordinator, Cornell University (new)


Southern Region

  • Sylvia Byrd, Project Director, Office of Nutrition Education, Mississippi State University (new)
  • Candance (Candy) Gabel, State Coordinator, Community Nutrition Education Program, Oklahoma State University
  • Lorelei Jones, EFNEP Coordinator, North Carolina State University (new)
  • Andrea Morris, Health and Nutrition Specialist/Program Manager EFNEP and SNAP-Ed, Alabama A&M University; 1890 representative
  • Renda Nelson, Better Living for Texans State Program Director, Texas A&M University


Western Region

  • Heidi LeBlanc, SNAP-Ed Director, Utah State University (new)
  • Katie Panarella, Director (FCS, EFNEP and UC MAster Food Preserver Program),  University of California (new)
  • Donna Sauter, ICAN Director (SNAP-Ed & EFNEP), New Mexico State University


Executive Committee

  • Angie Abbott, Assistant Dean and Associate Director, Health and Human Sciences Extension, Purdue University (new)
  • Andrea Morris, Health and Nutrition Specialist/Program Manager EFNEP and SNAP-Ed, Alabama A&M University; 1890 representative (new)
  • 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


Special Projects (new)

  • Lauren Sweeney, SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, Family, Youth and Community Services, University of Florida
  • Sally Bowman, Program Leader SNAP-Ed & EFNEP, Oregon State University (consultant)


Rotating Off – April 2019

  • Pat Bebo, Assistant Director, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension, The Ohio State University
  • Sally Bowman, Program Leader SNAP-Ed & EFNEP, Oregon State University
  • Patsy Ezell, Assistant Director FCS, University of Maryland
  • Megan Ness Ditterick, EFNEP/FNP Coordinator, North Dakota State University
  • Karla Shelnutt, Associate Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist, University of Florida
  • Laura Stephenson, Assistant Dean, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Tennessee Extension
  • Lisa Sullivan-Werner, FNP and EFNEP Leader, University of Massachusetts


UC CalFresh in Action!

‘A,’ as in appetizing: CHS culinary arts class share skills with elementary students, UCCE Imperial County

By: Vincent Osuna, January 12th, 2019

The possibility of turning her love for the culinary arts into a career didn’t come to the attention of Calexico High School senior Nelly Rodriguez until she was in high school. In her opinion, she should have gotten the notion much sooner. Through the 4-H Teens-As-Teachers Cooking Academy held Thursday, Rodriguez, along with her fellow Calexico High advanced culinary arts classmates, was able to provide Dool Elementary School students an early glimpse into the career possibilities in the kitchen.

“I think this is a really good experience for the kids because it shows them the pathways that are here at the high school that could lead them into their future,” the CHS senior said.

Inside the high school’s culinary arts classroom, CHS students worked step-by-step with the young Dool students in a two-hour session to cook French toast and make homemade syrup and toppings. Thursday marked the fourth of seven sessions in the cooking academy. This year was the first time that Calexico High hosted the academy, which came about through collaboration between UC Cal Fresh and 4-H, both of which operate through University of California Cooperative Extension. 4-H was allowed a mini-grant and purchased equipment, aprons — which were, quite appropriately, green — skillets and other materials for the Dool students, while UC Cal Fresh bought the main food ingredients. Throughout the academy, CHS students will use an evidence-based curriculum from 4-H to teach the elementary youth how to cook and prepare healthy meals for themselves.

“It’s to basically teach kids how to cook, but also just to empower them and to help them feel like they have a little more control over their food,” Chris Wong, UCCE Imperial County Community Education Specialist II, said. “At the same time,it serves purpose to the high school culinary class because it professionally develops them for their food demos and their competitions at the end of the year.”

The introduction of the 4-H academy locally served as an important step forward for Imperial County, as other counties around the state have already implemented the 4-H academy. “Hopefully we can start a new tradition where this can happen… with all the elementary schools as well,” Wong said. “If the schools can’t come to Calexico High School, we’d like to send the culinary arts students to the individual schools and classrooms so they can then do nutrition classes and food demo presentations in the classrooms.”

Samuel Gutierrez, a counselor at Dool Elementary who chaperons the students each session, explained how the academy has helped one student, in particular, this school year. “He recently came from Mexicali,” Gutierrez said. “Did not know any English, no friends, new country, new system and new everything. He would cry every single day coming to school. He did not want to be here because he missed mom, and he didn’t want to make friends. It was a very difficult transition for him.”

After getting to learn more about the student, Gutierrez discovered the student had an interest in cooking.

“I told him, ‘Y’know, you can study this for a career,’ Gutierrez said. “‘You do me a favor: You come to school tomorrow, and I’ll take you to the program.’ I called the mom, the dad and got on the same page as them, and surely enough, the student came to school and we brought the student here. He got the opportunity to engage in this course, with other students, communicate with other students, to socialize with them.”

The counselor noticed the student began to gain a sense of belonging. “He made friends… and (he’s) learning culinary arts as a career venue. He’s learning life skills that he could practice at home with his family. And guess what, his attendance went up because now there’s a reason for him to come to school. There’s a reason why he needs to do good in math… [and] in English. He was a newcomer, did not speak any English. If you go up to him right now, and you talk to him, he’ll speak to you in English. These are the kind of results that we see when we provide opportunity for our students by speaking life and future to them.”

Working with a group of Dool students a few tables down from Rodriguez was CHS senior Julio Ramirez.

“Now that we’re in our fourth session, they’re more comfortable with us,” Rodriguez said. “The first day, they were sort of nervous, not wanting to do stuff. Now since it’s they’re fourth time, they’re anxious to do it. It’s just a good thing to see.”

To wrap up Thursday’s session, Calexico High students showed the young chefs the technique of plating and having their food ready for presentation. Chef Nunez walked around room to each table and gave feedback to each Dool student on their creations. “Since this is just a project, we don’t grade anything,” Nunez said. “It’s just the look on these elementary kids’ faces when they’re eating their final project. To me, that’s an A plus.”

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, bplouie@ucdavis.edu

Metria Munyan, Youth Engagement – Project Manager, Public Health Institute, Center for Wellness and Nutrition, Metria.Munyan@wellness.phi.org

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

Andra Nicoli, MA, Program & Evaluation, UC CalFresh State Office, amnicoli@ucdavis.edu

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 Sandra.jensen@sdstate.edu to receive copies of the brochure.