UF/IFAS EXTENSION FAMILY NUTRITION PROGRAM
The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is the Florida component of the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). It is a partnership between USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Florida Department of Children and Families, University of Florida/IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences), and local Florida County Extension Offices.
The goal of FNP is to provide residents (children, adults with children, and older adults) of the various participating counties practical educational programs to make healthful food choices, balance food and physical activity, keep food safe to eat, and shop for food on a budget.
The Family Nutrition Program's target audience varies from county to county. It is based on priority needs and identified community resources. FNP works with older adults, families, young children, school-aged children, Head Start children and parents, and anyone else who receives, or is eligible to receive, SNAP benefits.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, and/or those who are eligible, can learn by participating in FNP how to make healthier food choices to reduce their risk of chronic diseases, health complications, and foodborne illnesses. Participants can also ascertain how to stretch food dollars or food resources.
Every FNP educational program utilizes a research based curricula. Examples of these are: “Youth Understanding MyPlate” – Y.U.M. for children, “Eating Smart Being Active,” “Cooking Matters in Your Community,” and “Elder Nutrition and Food Safety” for adults and older adults. Teaching strategies include direct teaching, group discussions, games, videos, handouts, posters, and occasional food sampling.
In addition, FNP provides a combined Nutrition and Gardening educational program focusing on nutrition concepts and skills such as growing, harvesting and composting. Children and adults learn about school or community gardening using one of these curricula; “The Great Garden Detective”, “Gardening for Nutrition” or “Dig In”. To carry this specific combined program, a brief work plan and written commitment letter is required by the interested school and/or organization. FNP funding is occasionally available to help schools and/or community organizations/programs purchase gardening tools, soil and/or seedlings to get them started on a raised bed vegetable garden.
County District Schools with a student population of 51% or more who receive free and/or reduced lunches, adults and families who are low to moderate income, food stamp eligible, and food stamp recipients can participate.
For children/youth from Kindergarten to 12th grade (5 years to 17 years of age) the educational programs consist of a 6-lesson series. Lessons identify and reinforce Florida Standards in different subject areas such as Science, Math, Health, English Language Arts and Physical Education. A pre-and post-survey is conducted with the participants. Teachers and parents may also be encouraged to complete a survey.