In a recent blog post, I talked about the differences between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed). SNAP-Ed helps people with limited financial resources make healthy food choices and be more physically active. The eight SNAP-Ed implementing agencies in Minnesota are the seven Anishinaabe Tribes (Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth) and the University of Minnesota Extension.
|Image source: American Indian Tribal Governments, MDH.|
The Tribes and Extension are working together to:
- Increase access to and engagement with high quality education opportunities that will improve the likelihood of family members and individuals to make healthy food choices and choose active lifestyles consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in order to prevent obesity related chronic disease.
- Strengthen community capacity to identify and implement promising educational, systems, environmental, and policy initiatives to support positive changes in healthy eating and active living behaviors.
- Increase accessibility to affordable fruits and vegetables by family members and individuals who currently have limited access.
These goals incorporate a specific concern that is critically important for SNAP-Ed — addressing the obesity epidemic that hits families with limited financial resources particularly hard and that paradoxically co-exists with hunger. The Tribes and Extension are addressing this concern by:
- Providing culturally relevant nutrition education and physical activity programming.
- Increasing the capacity of health and education departments to provide healthy food environments and conduct nutrition education.
- Elevating access to indigenous foods by collaborating to create community gardens, use the gardens as teaching tools, and connect gardens with other food and nutrition programs (e.g. Elder Meals, Head Start, and school meals).
The Tribes and Extension are involved in indigenous food sovereignty and food access initiatives, work that requires engaging with individuals and Tribal Governments. SNAP-Ed is part of a movement to reconnect people with a traditional diet that can help alleviate hunger and improve their health of people. Tribal SNAP-Ed educators and Extension SNAP-Ed educators are teaming up to share ideas and learn from each other about how to best serve American Indian populations.
Valerie Segrest on harvesting traditional foods, "It's not transactional anymore it's transformational." #nutrition16 #fertileground— Crystal EchoHawk (@CrystalEchoHawk) September 27, 2016
To learn more about SNAP-Ed programming in Tribal Communities in Minnesota, contact a SNAP-Ed educator listed below:
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
Janell Smith, SNAP-Ed Educator
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Amber Ahonen, SNAP-Ed Educator
218-878-3764 or 888-888-6007
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Tess Bailey, SNAP-Ed Educator
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Claire Tsuji, SNAP-Ed Educator
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
Diane O’Donnell, SNAP-Ed Educator
Red Lake Nation
Veronica Kingbird-Bratvold, SNAP-Ed Educator
White Earth Nation
Colleen Blattenbauer, SNAP-Ed Educator