The Family Nutrition Program’s Food Access and Availability Project works with local farmers markets that accept SNAP to provide cooking demonstrations. FNP’s work with Vinton Farmers Market is a bit different in that it provides hands-on cooking experiences to children as part of the Shake Bake and Sprout series.
See coverage from WSLS
Posted in Past Issues
The Virginia Family Nutrition Program hosted the Nutrition Assistants’ Multi-state Healthy Living Express in May in Roanoke with eight states in attendance. Here are the award winners from Virginia!
The winner is selected from the current Outstanding Performance nominees. The award recognizes excellence of FNP program assistants and FCS SNAP-Ed Agents.
- Susan Colvin, FNP SNAP-Ed Adult Program Assistant, Louisa County, Northern District
- Dottie Havlik, FCS SNAP-Ed Agent, Southwest District
This award recognizes outstanding performance of FNP Program assistants and FCS SNAP-Ed agents, encourages innovation and creativity in program delivery, and promotes local and state recognition of outstanding performance.
- Kim Russell, FNP SNAP-Ed youth program assistant, Smyth County, Southwest District
- Tia Powell, FNP SNAP-Ed adult/youth program assistant, Greenville/Emporia, Central District
- Brenda Watkevich, FNP SNAP-Ed adult program assistant, Culpepper County, Northern District
- Georgette Yates-Mosley, FNP EFNEP youth program assistant, Culpepper County, Northern District
- Saroj Khurana, FNP SNAP-Ed adult program assistant, Fairfax County, Northern District
- Ann Vargo, FCS SNAP-Ed agent, Southeast Jamestown District
First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe helped launch a statewide campaign known as “Eat Smart, Move More” at Chimborazo Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, on Aug. 15.
The campaign is part of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program, whose mission is to help low-income families make healthy food choices on a limited budget and to promote healthy, active lifestyles.
This year’s campaign features billboards located throughout Virginia and bus placards in larger localities, including Richmond and Hampton Roads, that depict Virginia youth following in the active footsteps of Virginia Tech student athletes.
Posters also will be distributed to participating schools.
One goal of the “Eat Smart, Move More” campaign is to show children and their families that eating nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and being active are not just good health choices — they are socially respected behaviors. A second aim is to share the message that eating nutritious foods helps athletes achieve their goals on baseball fields, basketball courts, and anywhere else they have to depend on their bodies to perform well.
More than 3,000 low-income children will have the opportunity to learn about healthy eating as well as prepare some fun recipes through Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program’s summer internship. Eighteen students were selected to work in communities through out the state, recruiting sites and teaching children who have challenges accessing healthy food. They will teach the basics of MyPlate, the importance of physical activity, and basic food preparation skills, all using fun, hands-on teaching methods.
Edith Nault with the Family Nutrition Program explains MyPlate to students.
Virginia Cooperative Extension delivers educational programs to citizens of Virginia within their communities. The Family Nutrition Program, offered through Virginia Cooperative Extension, teaches limited-resource families and youth how to make healthier food choices and become better managers of available food resources for optimal health and growth. Programs focus on basic nutrition, physical activity, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping.
This is the third year that Prince William FCS Extension Agent, SNAP Ed staff, and Master Food Volunteers have collaborated with the Prince William County School Food and Nutrition Services to offer an after school club that teaches middle school students nutrition and cooking skills. There are clubs in all eighteen middle schools: six of the schools are SNAP-Ed eligible, meaning the program assistants and nutrition outreach instructors are the VCE staff in those locations. In the other twelve schools, the agent and Master Food Volunteers offer the education.
The school food service allows us to use the school kitchen, has three staff members to help the students, provides all of the food and supplies, and has chef hats for the students. Virginia Cooperative Extension plans the lesson based on the Family Nutrition Program Teen Cuisine curriculum and selects recipes based on ChooseMyPlate. The clubs meet six times during the school year for an hour to two, depending on the activity bus schedule. Topics and menus so far have included: Eat Smart (turkey chili, black bean and vegetable quesadillas, and blueberry smoothies), You Are What You Eat (turkey burgers with low fat cheese, sweet potato fries, kale chips, and cranberry juice with seltzer) and Power Up with Breakfast (vegetable frittata, carrot pineapple raisin muffins, banana split parfaits, and fizzy orange juice). Food safety is always discussed in relation to the menu items. Previous topics include cooking poultry to the correct temperature and personal hygiene in the kitchen with hand washing and hair restraints.
There are 15-25 students at each school. Students have commented in the kitchen that they love Chef Club and, when asked if they discussed MyPlate at home, one student said “yes, and my mother is annoyed.”
– Nancy Stegon
FCS Extension Agent
Prince William County
The Family Nutrition Program’s mission is to help low-income families around the state improve their lives by teaching healthy eating, active living, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping. In Patrick County, 11-year veteran Program Assistant Vicky Wasoski touched the life of one special resident, Patricia, and helped her set her new year off in a better direction.
Patricia began class with Vicky in the fall of 2013. Patricia faces disabilities that keep her from living on her own, and recently her doctor told her that she was overweight. She took the initiative to sign up for nutrition classes with Vicky, and during the two months she was enrolled in the class, she lost 16 pounds! As she gained the skills and confidence to prepare food on her own following Vicky’s encouragement, she began to make her own cookbook from the recipes she received in class and from magazines she found. Patricia went from not liking to cook to learning skills and loving everything she prepared. She was excited to be introduced to new foods and flavors and was especially anxious to try recipes using chicken, as her family raises their own.
Through the personal efforts of Vicky Wasoski and the Family Nutrition Program, Patricia is on her way to be able to live on her own, cook for herself, and keep her weight under control. Patricia’s story highlights one of the less talked about aspects of the learning that goes on in the Family Nutrition Program: when participants begin to learn to cook and shop for themselves in ways that are healthy and within their budget, they gain self-confidence and a new found sense of control in their lives. We are proud of Patricia and the many other participants who take the first steps towards making positive changes in their lives under the caring watch of the program assistants.
Posted in Past Issues
The Family Nutrition Program’s Food Security Project is designed to respond to the high levels of food insecurity reported by SNAP-Ed participants and low-income Virginians in general. The project focuses on eliminating “food deserts,” as this lack of access to healthy foods both exacerbates the effects of food insecurity and represents an opportunity for supporting the vitality Virginia’s communities with the creation of a market for locally grown produce.
Project activities include:
- Recruiting volunteers to perform at-market low cost, healthy meal demonstrations
- Assisting market managers with their outreach to SNAP families through training and creating marketing materials
- Orienting adult FNP participants to shopping at farmers markets
- Assisting market managers with creating mobile markets to serve food deserts
- Educating families about the opportunity to use SNAP to purchase seeds and the benefits of kitchen gardens
For more information, please contact Meredith Ledlie Johnson, FNP project associate.
Several awards are are available for Program Assistants and Nutrition Outreach Instructors working with the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) as well as for collaborators and supporters of the FNP. We encourage you to review the awards descriptions and eligibility criteria and submit nominations for worthy staff. Self nominations are allowable as well.
The nomination process is short and consists of the following three items:
- Completing the FNP Awards Nomination form
- Completing the summary statement for the Awards Booklet
- Completing the two-page double-spaced description of the Program Assistants’ or Nutrition Outreach Instructors’ attributes that fit the award criteria and any supporting materials
Nominations must be received by April 5, 2013. Send nominations to me via email.
Thank you for taking time to submit nominations for yourself or a coworker.
— Judith L. Midkiff, project associate, operations and marketing
Posted in Past Issues