SNAP-Ed is a federal/state partnership that supports nutrition education for persons eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). State agencies that choose to conduct nutrition education through their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are eligible to be reimbursed for up to one half of their SNAP-Ed costs by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). State and local funding comes primarily from land-grant institutions which contract with SNAP agencies to deliver SNAP-Ed. They reach intended audiences by coordinating with state and local partners and with other contractors. Other contractors are state public health departments, food banks, tribal programs and local health organizations.
The goal of SNAP-Ed through the Land-Grant University System is to provide educational programs and conduct social marketing campaigns that increase the likelihood that people eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Food Guidance System (MyPyramid.gov).
SNAP-Ed is delivered directly through group and individual interactive learning opportunities and indirectly through the distribution of print and video materials. Social marketing campaigns are also used to disseminate short and catchy messages to specific audiences in a variety of ways, from recipe cards and wristbands to flyers and television or radio public service announcements. Regardless of the delivery approach used, SNAP-Ed is learner-centered and behavioral-focused.
SNAP-Ed began in 1988 when cooperative extension faculty in Brown County, Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin extension staff discovered that by committing state and local funding and contracting with the state SNAP agency, an equal amount of federal dollars could be secured to expand the reach of nutrition education to low-income persons in that area. Other universities soon followed. In 1992, seven states conducted SNAP-Ed using $661 thousand in federal funds. By 2004, SNAP-Ed was conducted throughout the country using nearly $460 million, with $228.6 million in SNAP administration funds and the remainder contributed by the states.
Growth of SNAP-Ed has occurred mainly through the Land-Grant University System, primarily through affiliated state Cooperative Extension Systems (CES), and to a lesser degree through nutrition departments. By 2004, land-grant colleges and universities were conducting SNAP-Ed in all 50 states either independently or in cooperation with other contractors, and accounted for the majority of state and local financial support of SNAP-Ed.
NIFA's involvement with SNAP-Ed began in 1999, as land-grant university administrators identified the need for national leadership through their federal partner. NIFA supports SNAP-Ed by providing leadership, establishing collaborative relationships, and strengthening communication among federal, state, and local partners. Specifically, it promotes well-trained staff; effective program planning, management, and reporting; identification and use of effective and appropriate resources; and improved consistency and clarity of communication among SNAP-Ed's many partners.
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