Skip to main content

NIFA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program: Helping Consumers Maximize, and Safely Serve and Store the Food They Have

Posted by Carinthia Cherry, PhD, RDN, Institute of Food and Agriculture, National EFNEP Coordinator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA in Research and Science
Mar 18, 2021

Nutrition security has taken center stage during the pandemic. While many families struggle to put healthy food on the table, it’s important for communities to have resources to help feed and nurture families. That’s why the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps people develop the skills needed to prepare foods and learn how to store food in limited spaces.

EFNEP uses peer educators to teach community members how to prepare nutritious foods to improve health and well-being using hands-on learning. In 2020, EFNEP employed 1,322 educators who are members of the communities they serve. In turn, EFNEP educators worked directly with 59,853 adults and 204,525 youth.

EFNEP resources are making a difference. For example, a New Mexico State University peer educator volunteered to help develop English and Spanish video lessons for program participants who could no longer attend EFNEP classes in person. “Using technology to deliver information is now of paramount significance,” she said. “Our ‘tasty-style’ videos demonstrate the cooking process, from selecting ingredients to the end result!”

The University of Puerto Rico EFNEP taught one participant how to provide healthy food for her four young children. Though overwhelmed with responsibilities as a mother and student, she completed her remote EFNEP classes. “Now, I meal plan to provide nutritious meals for my family within our food budget,” she said.

EFNEP is funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in partnership with 76 land-grant universities.

Category/Topic: Research and Science