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SNAP-Ed Community Partners Set the Stage for Systems Change

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

At the halfway point of their work, SNAP-Ed Community Partners are reporting changes in organizational practices, public policy, 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. Extension's SNAP-Ed work helps make the healthy choice the easy choice for Minnesotans with limited financial resources. 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 halfway report are eight organizational changes achieved by seven partners across the state — changes that include expanding acceptance of EBT cards at farmers markets and increasing access to public green spaces. One partner influenced a public policy change in one community that resulted in local government creating space for a farmers market and community gardens.

The changes are not all at the organizational or policy level, however. Partners also have observed changes at the individual level within their target audiences. The most frequent change observed is adults taking on leadership roles, followed by increased participation of low-income families in growing food.

The halfway report shows that partners are progressing beyond the initial stage of building partnerships to one of program development and maturation. In Quarter 1, partners mentioned building partnerships and program attendance as their most significant successes. In Quarter 2, building partnerships and increasing program attendance were still mentioned as successes, but the benefits most often cited by partners were successful program implementation and growth.

For the full list of partners and their projects, visit SNAP-Ed Community Partnership Funding [archived webpage].

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