The State Nutrition Action Council: Farmers Market Initiative

The State Nutrition Action Council: Farmers Market Initiative (SNAC) is policy, systems, and environmental change intervention designed to:

  • Increase knowledge of Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs available at farmers markets
  • Increase knowledge of locally grown fruits and vegetables and how to use, cook, and store them
  • Increase the use of Market Match and CalFresh redemption vouchers to support low-income shoppers in maximizing their purchasing power

In 2018, SNAC focused on increasing low-income shoppers’ utilization of their food and nutrition program benefits at local Farmers Markets, and in 2019, SNAC expanded its Farmers Market Initiative (FMI) into additional counties and markets, as well as added an on-site navigator component. The navigator model was tested at three markets, and the CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) Navigators were found to address barriers to shopping at farmers markets, including lack of knowledge and comfort using food assistance benefits. CFHL Navigators provided support to shoppers by distributing materials, promoting accepted FNS benefits, providing information on how to use FNS benefits, explaining Market Match, and providing interactive nutrition and health education activities on-site at the market for six consecutive weeks.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Healthy for Life Community Nutrition Program (HFL)

The Healthy for Life (HFL) Community Nutrition Program is direct education designed to change relationships with food and nutrition by inspiring individuals and families to make healthy food choices part of their everyday lives. It was designed from the community engagement model, emphasizing participants’ contribution in refining the program. Also, community fit was ensured through the consideration of existing programs along with the target population and facilitator capabilities. Program material was designed to be culturally relevant and facilitators should connect and establish a reciprocal sense of trust and respect among participants. The materials are flexible and can accommodate individuals with time constraints, limited budgets, and minimal nutrition knowledge. The program aims to improve participant confidence and attitudes to sustain healthy behavior change. The recommendation is to offer at least four educational experiences, over 2-3 months to equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to discover, choose, and prepare healthy food. Through facilitated food discovery experiences, participants will build food literacy to improve their health.  

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating  
Intervention Type: Direct Education 

UCONN Husky Nutrition On-the-Go, Sugary Drink Reduction (SDR)

Husky Nutrition On-the-Go: Sugary Drink Reduction (SDR) is a direct education intervention designed to reduce sugary drink consumption among three to five-year-old children enrolled in early childhood education (ECE) programs by changing primary caregiver knowledge, motivation, and behaviors. SDR is a 10-week, brief interaction program developed for implementation during child pick-up times at ECE programs located in SNAP-Ed eligible communities. The curriculum includes 10 nutrition education modules centered around eight discrete messages about the information, motivation, or skills needed to understand why and how to decrease sugary drink consumption in a child’s diet. Each week, the parent encounters an activity to apply knowledge and skills learned at a display board, repetition of a targeted message for the week, informational handouts, and a gift to reinforce that message.  A series of short videos that reinforce SDR messages has also been developed for social media. Each week of the program, students enrolled in a university service-learning course set up the weekly display board at participating ECE centers and greet parents when they pick up their children.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Cooking is a SNAP

Cooking is a SNAP is a direct education intervention designed to (1) increase fruit and vegetable consumption; (2) increase confidence to plan and prepare meals at home and (3) move 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Cooking is a SNAP is a culinary nutrition education curriculum. The curriculum consists of six 2-hour sessions with nutrition content derived from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans incorporating the USDA’s MyPlate materials. Physical activity content is from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition and the 2016 National Physical Activity Plan. Culinary skills and basic cooking techniques have been modified from school food service materials developed by the University of Minnesota Extension. Cooking is a SNAP incorporates the social-cognitive theory of change where learning occurs in a social context with dynamic and reciprocal interactions of the person, environment, and behavior. Central to this theory, Cooking is a SNAP is designed as a hands-on, interactive curriculum where the leaders model the skills and behaviors they are teaching.

 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

 

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Voices for Food (VFF)

Voices for Food (VFF) is a PSE change intervention designed to enhance food security in diverse rural communities with high poverty rates, utilize community coaches to develop new or provide support to existing food councils, and encourage policy changes in local food pantries that increase the availability of healthy foods. VFF focuses on the engagement of community coaches with communities to achieve intervention objectives while utilizing VFF materials. Community coaches address food system issues by focusing on local food policy and making environmental changes, such as community gardens, aiding the food pantry in obtaining more space, and working on other issues of food security. Community coaches work collaboratively with food pantries to make PSE changes that transition to a client choice model of distribution (MyChoice) and offer the VFF Ambassador’s training, which includes nutrition education, cultural competency training, and food safety training. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: PSE Change

Create Better Health Curriculum

The Create Better Health (CBH) Curriculum is a direct education intervention designed to improve the nutrition and physical activity-related knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy of SNAP-Ed eligible adults to lead an active and healthy lifestyle with limited resources. CBH has a unique emphasis on improving food resource management through the use of “Create” concepts. “Create” concepts teach participants how to use foods they already have in their kitchen to create a variety of nourishing meals. CBH includes 8 lessons that are to be offered in a series of 6-8 classes. Nutrition educators are trained regularly to teach CBH classes all of which include a nutrition topic, physical activity discussion, and a hands-on (ideally) cooking demonstration that utilizes a “Create” concept. CBH addresses and evaluates individual level changes including short term readiness and capacity and mediumterm changes over the course of a series, as well as long-term changes 6 months after participation in the areas of healthy eating, physical activity, and food resource management. CBH also includes a 1-year follow-up survey to evaluate long-term behavior changes. 

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

Intervention Type: Direct Education

iCook 4-H: Cooking, Eating, and Playing Together

The iCook 4-H Program is a direct education intervention designed to reach the following objectives: increase cooking skills and culinary self-efficacy, improve openness to new foods, increase frequency and/or quality of meal time with family members, and decrease sedentary time. It is intended for out-of-school settings with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles for 9- and 10-year-old youth and the adult who prepares their meals. Grounded in the Social Cognitive Theory, interactions among youth, adults, and leaders provide opportunities for observational learning, reciprocal role modeling, and building self-efficacy.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: Family engagement/communication and goal setting

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Fresh Conversations

Fresh Conversations (FC) is a direct education, newsletter-based intervention for seniors. FC targets behaviors known to reduce chronic disease burden and promote healthy aging. It promotes healthier food and beverage choices across food groups to move closer to Dietary Guidelines for Americans (eat variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats—less sodium and added sugars). Participants meet monthly for 30-45 minute interactive sessions led by a trained facilitator. Each participant receives a 4-page newsletter. Facilitators use a companion facilitator guide with behavioral objectives, key nutrition messages, facilitation dialogue, activities and recipe tasting options. Physical activity demos are part of each meeting. Each session is designed to be interactive with a group discussion, goal setting, physical activity break, and recipe tasting. Puzzles and games in newsletter reinforce educational content.

Target Behavior:  Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Healthy Way to Grow

The Healthy Way to Grow (HWTG) is a direct education and PSE intervention directed at early childhood education centers (ECE). HWTG is designed to promote the adoption of wellness policies and implementation of best practices at the center level to create cultures of health within child care facilities, which positively impact early childhood providers’ knowledge and skills about healthy eating and physical activity (PA), provide tools and resources for child care facilities to help parents and families increase healthy eating and PA, and expose children to healthy foods and PA at a young age. HWTG helps centers learn how to approach these issues and embed best practices into their ongoing activities to create a culture of health and wellness within their environments.

Target Behavior: Breastfeeding, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: staff wellness

Intervention Type: Direct Education, PSE Change

Hip Hop to Health Jr.

Hip Hop to Health Jr. is a direct education intervention designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise for children ages 3-5 years.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education