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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.

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

Program: Around the Table with EFNEP

EFNEP Around the Table Logo

UVM Extension developed this course to empower limited-resource families with young children to eat healthy on a budget and become more physically active. This small-group, six-session course is engaging, interactive and fun.

Around the Table with EFNEP includes a mix of group discussion and hands-on activities . The best part is that participants choose the topics that they want to learn more about. Groups can explore topics such as, how to: prepare healthier recipes, eat better, save money and grow food. To receive the EFNEP Certificate of Graduation, participants need to complete at least six lessons.

Program: Book-in-Bag

Food Culture & Nutrition Books

UVM Extension EFNEP’s Book-in-Bag program was inspired by the Kansas State University Extension program, and is designed for kindergarten, first and second grade students. This course encourages young children to explore food and nutrition related topics through reading comprehension.

The EFNEP Nutrition Educator reads a storybook with a food-related message and then engages students in a hands-on learning activity to summarize the lesson. The Educator also distributes a healthy snack accompanied by recipes and a letter to take home. Students are encouraged to talk about the book, activity and make food at home with their families.

Program: Eating Smart • Being Active

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Developed at Colorado State University and University of California Davis, UVM Extension’s EFNEP offers Eating Smart • Being Active to empower parents with limited resources to lead healthier lifestyles. Taught by EFNEP Nutrition Educators, this eight-lesson program includes hands-on activities and group discussion centered around physical activity, nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices, eating a variety of foods from all food groups, food safety, reducing fat, sugar, and salt, and feeding children. Eating Smart • Being Active is an interactive way for parents and caregivers to gather resources to make healthy choices while also engaging in fun lessons such as food preparation, menu planning, and physical activity.

Program: Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF)

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Taught over the course of six hands-on lessons, CHFFF teaches children ages 8-12 about eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water and low-fat milk, eating fewer high-fat, high-sugar foods, and engaging in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Each lesson includes nutrition activities, food preparation or tastings, active games, goal-setting challenges, and a newsletter for the family. Developed at Cornell University, UVM Extension’s EFNEP is excited to offer CHFFF as a way for kids to engage in fun and interactive nutrition education that targets behaviors shown to be most effective in preventing childhood obesity and chronic disease.

Program: Home Visits

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UVM Extension’s EFNEP also offers one-on-one nutrition education sessions that can take place in your home or in a community setting.  You can also choose to partake in these lessons with a small group of family or friends. Home visits typically consist of six sessions that are tailored to your individual needs.  Choose what you want to learn from topics such as: preparing healthy meals and snacks, shopping smarter on a budget, understanding the importance of food safety, and appreciating the benefits of being active. Home visits can be arranged by contacting your local EFNEP Nutrition Educator.

What is EFNEP?

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.

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 in Vermont serves many counties either with full or limited coverage.

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

 

 

Contact & Locations

For more information or to sign up, contact your local EFNEP Nutrition Educator.  If your county is not represented contact Amy Davidson, the state EFNEP Coordinator.

State Contacts

Amy Davidson EFNEP Coordinator
efnep@uvm.edu or amy.davidson@uvm.edu | (802) 656-2311 | Fax:  (802) 656-8642
University of Vermont, 23 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323

Wendy Hull EFNEP Program Support Assistant
wendy.hull@uvm.edu | (802) 656-5835 | Fax: (802) 656-8642
University of Vermont, 23 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323

Addison County

Susan Bodette, EFNEP Educator
susan.bodette@uvm.edu | (802) 388-4969 ext.334 or (800) 956-1125
23 Pond Lane, Suite 300, Middlebury, VT 05753-1189

Caledonia County

Bernadette Bessette, EFNEP Educator
bernadette.bessette@uvm.edu | (802) 751-8307 ext.361 or (800) 545-8920
374 Emerson Falls Rd., Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819-9083

Chittenden County

Susan Edwards, EFNEP Educator
susan.edwards@uvm.edu | (802) 656-9465 or (866) 622-2990
23 Mansfield Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401-3323

Rutland County

Kate Bilinksi EFNEP Educator
kate.bilinski@uvm.edu | (802) 773-3349 ext.271 or (800) 281-6977
271 N. Main St., Suite 110, Rutland, VT 05701-2424

Washington County

Frances Fleming EFNEP Educator
frances.fleming@uvm.edu | (802) 476-2003 ext.206 or (866) 860-1382
327 US Route 302, Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641

Windham County

Bonny White EFNEP Educator
bonny.white@uvm.edu | (802)-257-7967 ext. 314 or (800)-278-5480
130 Austine Drive, Suite 300, Brattleboro, VT 05301

 

 

USDA NIFA LogoThe 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.

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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