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University of Vermont Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) empowers Vermonters to lead healthier lives through hands-on nutrition education. Programs serve income eligible parents, caregivers and expecting mothers, as well as children and teens. The best part? It’s free.

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) was established nation-wide in 1969 with a commitment to combat hunger, malnutrition, poverty and obesity through hands-on, practical nutrition education. EFNEP Vermont operates through University of Vermont Extension and is a federally funded mandate that works hand-in-hand with local partners to serve limited-income Vermonters.

National EFNEP Mission Statement: The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is designed to assist limited resource audiences in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sounds diets, and to contribute to their personal development and the improvement of the total family diet and nutritional well-being.

EFNEP focuses on the following 4 core areas:

  1. Diet Quality and Physical Activity: Improve diets and nutritional and physical wellbeing through the adoption of federal food and physical activity recommendations.
  2. Food Resource Management: Increase ability to buy, grow, prepare and store food that meets nutritional needs.
  3. Food Safety: Improve household food safety and sanitation practices.
  4. Food Security: Increase ability to have enough healthy food to eat either through purchasing directly or by accessing food assistance programs when necessary.

Participants Learn by Doing EFNEP offers adult and youth programs, typically six sessions long and held in a community or home setting. Adult programs involve a combination of group discussion and hands-on activities designed to inspire participants to make healthier choices for themselves and their families. Children and teen programs work within community groups and schools to create fun, hands-on and age-appropriate nutrition education opportunities. Participants learn to:

  • Prepare basic meals and snacks in a fun setting
  • Shop smarter on a budget
  • Grow and store fresh food
  • Follow and modify healthy recipes
  • Recognize what ingredients are in the foods they eat
  • Understand the importance of food safety
  • Appreciate the benefits of being active


What programs are offered?

UVM Extension offers both Adult and Youth Programs provided by EFNEP Nutrition Educators, such as Around the Table with EFNEP and Book-in-Bag (see above). Nutrition Educators use a combination of proven nutrition materials and experiential expertise to create engaging curriculum for their communities. In addition, they support and utilize the following USDA programs:

Am I eligible?

EFNEP is designed to serve limited-income families. Free programs serve:

  • Parents and guardians of youth 19 years old and under
  • Pregnant women
  • Teens and children

If you are eligible for 3 Squares VT/SNAP, WIC, Head Start and/or free school meals, likely you also qualify for EFNEP. Contact your local EFNEP Nutrition Educator for more information about our services, eligibility and how to sign-up for a free program that best meets your needs.

Can my community group/organization partner with EFNEP?

At EFNEP we value and rely on community partnerships to be able to work with various Vermont communities. Partnerships range from organizations making or receiving referrals, to collaborating to host an EFNEP class. Below are examples of groups and organizations that we work with.

If you are interested in partnering with EFNEP, please contact your local EFNEP Nutrition Educator.

Is EFNEP effective?

Yes! Studies show that:

  • for every $1 spent on EFNEP, up to $10 is saved in future health care costs.
  • for every $1 spent on EFNEP, $2.48 is saved in food expenses.
  • EFNEP is the most effective federal nutrition program for increasing fruit and vegetable intake.

In exit surveys EFNEP participants report:

  • Improvement in following USDA food group recommendations
  • Improvement in meal-planning skills
  • Increased preference for the taste of fruits and vegetables
  • Saving money at the grocery store
  • Using nutrition labels to make food choices
  • Increased physical activity

How can I contribute and support EFNEP?

You can support EFENP in many ways:

  • Make a donation: www.uvmfoundation.org/givetoextension
  • Be a host or partner for an EFNEP event: contact the Nutrition Educator nearest you
  • Refer potential participants to us: Referrals are how EFNEP reaches families in need. Participation in EFNEP is voluntary and participants can stop at any time. Contact your local Nutrition Educator.

Is there EFNEP where I live? How do I get more information?

EFNEP offers adult group classes, youth group classes and individual home visits with adults in Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Rutland, and Windham Counties. Limited coverage: EFNEP offers adult group classes and youth group classes in some parts of Addison, Bennington, Essex, Franklin, Orleans, Washington and Windsor Counties.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program  (EFNEP) currently operates in all 50 states and 6 territories. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

How Can I Support EFNEP?

  • Make a Donation
  • Be a Program Host or Volunteer
  • Contact a Nutrition Educator
  • Refer a Participant
    Referrals are how EFNEP reaches families in need. Participation is voluntary and participants can stop at any time.
    Contact a Nutrition Educator

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