UConn Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

Food and Nutrition Classes at Home

boy planting a seedling
Photo: Heather Pease

Hartford County’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) provided virtual nutrition education and cooking programs to limited resource adults and youth in 2021.

We held the Cook and Chat virtual series for adults online. It included sessions on cooking basics, food safety, food budgeting, and nutrition topics over three to 12 lessons. Programs partners were agencies in Enfield, Plainville, New Britain, Hartford, and Bristol. They prepared easy, nutritious recipes from home and had a group discussion. Participants received the ingredient and equipment lists before each class. Participants also received incentives for completing the program surveys and dietary recalls. These included measuring cups, grocery bags, food thermometers, and cutting boards. The early evening programs were popular since participants could use the recipe for their meal.

A virtual youth program in the summer focused on gardening, nutrition, cooking, and fitness. Human Resources Agency (HRA) in New Britain partnered with EFNEP. This was a workforce development project for youth entering ninth grade. This intensive program was 20 hours per week and held via Google classroom. Youth learned about health and nutrition careers while completing gardening and fitness activities.

EFNEP Educators positively interacted with participants despite the challenges of completely virtual environments. Youth and adult participants were eager to learn about nutrition, food budgeting, and easy recipes. Adults felt comfortable cooking in their own homes. They were also more likely to replicate a recipe for their family at a later date. The incentives motivated participants. They stayed engaged in the lessons and completed our evaluation surveys and dietary recalls. In many ways, the EFNEP educators learned a great deal more about a family’s needs in this personal space. The pandemic created new challenges. EFNEP’s efforts evolved and continues serving limited resource youth and adults.

Article by Sharon Gray, RD

Dairy Foods Outreach

Our UConn 4-H program coordinated with dairy cooperatives, 4-H members and volunteers, and the UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program- EFNEP to have dairy products donated and delivered to food pantries statewide. These products are helping feed families in need throughout the state. We’ve had two days of dairy donations and deliveries and our efforts will continue.

To date, our team has delivered 1440 half gallons of milk (720 gallons) and 28,000 pounds of yogurt and sour cream so far, and another 7,200 half gallons Monday (3,600 gallons).

https://youtu.be/YHliS9sMb5Y

With: Guida’s Dairy, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Agri-Mark, Connecticut Dairy, New England Dairy, UConn 4-H Litchfield County, Fairfield County, CT 4-H UConn, and UConn 4-H New London County