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Thursday, January 12, 2017

SNAP and SNAP-Ed: What’s the Difference?

By Ryan Johnson, Associate Program Director — Health and Nutrition

As we celebrate SNAP Education and Outreach Month, here are a few things you might not know about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed).
  • SNAP benefits help Minnesotans with limited financial resources buy food for well-balanced meals. SNAP-Ed helps these same people make healthy food choices and become more physically active.
  • SNAP is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), with case management done by county human services offices. SNAP-Ed is implemented by University of Minnesota Extension and the seven Anishinaabe Tribes (Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth).
  • Both SNAP and SNAP-Ed are federally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture through legislation commonly referred to as “the Farm Bill.”

Monday, January 9, 2017

A New Year, a New Perspective

By Jamie Bain, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

I feel a sense of urgency for the work we in Family Development engage in. Minnesota in particular is in the national spotlight for our problems with disparities in health and wealth. Research, research, and more research shows how we are a state of beauty and plenty, but only for those of us who live in certain zip codes, have certain backgrounds, and enjoy certain privileges. Until all Minnesotans share equally in health and wealth, those of us on the comfortable side of Minnesota’s many gaps cannot rest.

And we cannot work alone. As the problems in our society become more complex and “wicked,” I believe it is important to embrace a network mindset in our work of closing disparities.

Friday, January 6, 2017

January Is SNAP Education and Outreach Month

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate — Health and Nutrition​

Our New Year's resolution to make the healthy choice the easy choice for Minnesotans just got a boost: Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed January Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and Outreach Month.

Read the full proclamation here: SNAP Education and Outreach Month.

SNAP helps Minnesotans with low incomes buy food for well-balanced meals. And SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for those Minnesotans.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cold Weather Doesn’t Keep People from Food Access Summit

By Serdar Mamedov, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition, and Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator — Food Safety

Despite the very cold weather (16 degrees below zero) and long travel time for some, the 2016 Central Minnesota Food Access Summit on December 15 at Central Lake College in Staples, MN brought together over 80 people with food-related professions and interests from throughout the region.

The summit was a forum for wide-ranging conversations about access to healthy food in Central Minnesota. Attendees learned about resources to support a healthier and more affordable food system in their local communities. It was amazing to see a broad representation of different community sectors, including farming, food production and distribution, public health, agriculture research, and many others. Residents from communities and tribal nations also attended. Here are some highlights from the summit.

Monday, December 19, 2016

SNAP-Ed Community Partners Report Organizational and Environmental Change

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

Nine months into their work, SNAP-Ed Community Partners are reporting changes in organizational practices, physical infrastructure, and target audiences’ behavior.

University of Minnesota Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Community Partnership Funding provides funds to 15 local, regional, and statewide agencies. In December 2015, partners were chosen to work collaboratively with SNAP-Ed staff to help bring about policy, system, and environmental changes using practical strategies to help break down barriers to healthy eating and active living. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is providing technical assistance to measure the results of the partners’ work.

Among the most significant successes reported in the third quarter report are eight organizational changes achieved by seven partners, including changing school wellness policies and expanding acceptance of EBT cards at farmers markets.

Designathon: Can You Go the Distance?

By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency

This December, teams from cooperative extension services across the country attended a 3-day eXtension Community Issue Corps “Designathon” in Detroit, MI to take good ideas and make them great ideas.

The eXtension Foundation announced the national launch of the Community Issue Corps last summer, which solicited proposals from eXtension Communities of Practice, Learning Networks, and User Communities interested in planning solutions to local issues in new and different ways. The Health Insurance Literacy team from the Financial Security for All Community of Practice, of which I am a member, submitted a proposal titled “Developing and Testing Mobile Delivery of Health Insurance Information.” Our proposal was one of ten accepted to be part of the Community Issue Corps 2016, so on December 7, we began the four-stage designathon.
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