The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a federally-funded program through the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) designed to provide nutrition education to limited resource families and children in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
In Florida, EFNEP is an integral part of the University of Florida IFAS Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences and 4H Youth Programs.
- Who We Are
The Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a partnership with the University of Florida, the USDA, county governments, community organizations and Florida residents. EFNEP is administered by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Services Cooperative Extension (UF/IFAS Extension).
EFNEP uses a paraprofessional model to reach our target audience and deliver educational programs in our communities. Paraprofessionals are trained nutrition educators (known as Extension Program Assistants) with ServSafe certification®.
- Who We Serve
EFNEP programming is offered to a diverse audience of adults, youth and children with limited resources. Specifically, EFNEP audiences include:
- Low-income parents and other adult caregivers (such as grandparents and guardians) who have primary responsibility for obtaining and preparing food for their children, with emphasis on families and caregivers of young children and pregnant women/teens;
- Low-income adolescent youth (middle school through high school - ages 13 to 18 years); and
- Low-income children and pre-adolescent youth (kindergarten through elementary school - ages 5 to 12 years).
- What We Do
1.) Provide research-based, interactive education FREE to eligible participants
EFNEP Extension Program Assistants empower participants to adopt healthy lifestyle practices. For both adults and youth, lessons are learner-centered with activities for practicing new skills and physical activities. EFNEP builds upon participant’s strengths and past experiences to create a rich learning experience.
Throughout a series of lessons delivered in small groups, EFNEP Extension Program Assistants focus on food-related practices to help participants achieve personal and family wellness.
The five key areas of content:
- Diet Quality - Choose and eat foods of adequate variety and appropriate quantity
- Physical Activity - Be physically active to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease
- Food Resource Management - Improve purchasing, selecting, or otherwise obtaining; preparing; and storing foods to increase the sustained availability of healthy foods
- Food Safety - Practice safe food handling to reduce the risk of foodborne illness
- Food Security - Identify and use emergency and non-emergency food assistance, as needed, to ensure household food security
2.) Coordinate and Collaborate with Community Partnerships
Using a community-based, relationship-driven approach, EFNEP partners with local leaders to strengthen available support systems to enhance participants’ success. Community settings may include:
- Adult education and training sites
- Adult rehabilitation centers
- Community Centers
- Emergency Food Assistance Sites
- Extension Offices
- Farmers Markets
- Head Start Sites
- Health Care Sites
- Youth Education sites
- Public Housing
- SNAP Offices
- WIC Program Sites
- How We are Successful
In Florida, EFNEP has been administered by the University of Florida for nearly five decades. As a result of participating in EFNEP, individuals and families report and demonstrate improved behaviors with respect to diet quality and physical activity, food resource management, food safety and food security practices.
Some also report unintended benefits, such as improved self-confidence, increased self-worth, confidence in seeking additional educational opportunities, and improved family dynamics.
Communities benefit as EFNEP personnel and others in the public and private sector network, cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate on efforts to support the nutritional health of low-income populations.
- Get Involved with EFNEP
Last year, UF/IFAS Extension EFNEP reached almost 12,000 families across the state of Florida! EFNEP values and relies on community partnerships to be able to work with various Florida communities.
Groups and organizations can support EFNEP in various ways, including:
- Referring potential participants to contact us
- Collaborating to host an EFNEP class or event, or
- Making a donation.
To partner with EFNEP, host a series of programs or make a donation, contact your local EFNEP team.