SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education
SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education) is a program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles among low-income populations. SNAP was formerly called the Food Stamp Program.
In Hawai‛i, the program has two components: direct nutrition education, (led by our partners at the University of Hawai‛i Cooperative Extension Services), and the support of policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes—shifts that make healthy lifestyles easier where people eat, live, work, learn, shop and play. These two components must impact communities, schools, and families who meet income eligibility standards for SNAP-Ed, which vary depending on the setting.
DOH Program Overview
We understand that the solutions to food insecurity and poor health need to come from within the communities most impacted by them. That is why DOH SNAP-Ed is focused on community leadership development in 4 Systems:
- Early Care and Education (ECE): We work with childcare facilities and administrators to promote the Hawai‛i ECE Wellness Guidelines and offer training and technical assistance in curricula such as Farm to Keiki.
- Schools (K-12): Working in close partnership with the DOH School Health program, SNAP-Ed supports the implementation of the HIDOE School Wellness Policy. We also support farm to school initiatives through developing partnerships such as the Hawai‛i Farm to School Hui.
- Built environment: In order to ensure healthy food access for all, regardless of housing or transportation access, we have partnered with the DOH Built Environment program to work on issues such as complete streets, active transportation, housing, and urban agriculture.
- Community Food Access:
- SNAP retail: We know that the places where low-income residents shop for food don’t always have healthy items available. That’s why we support EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) programs at farmers’ markets, as well as nutrition incentive programs (where SNAP users get an extra dollar for each dollar they spend on fruits and vegetables, doubling their purchasing power)
- Emergency food relief: SNAP-Ed supports building leadership within the state’s food banks and food pantries to ensure that food bank clients have access to healthy food and other programs and services that help increase self-sufficiency.
Youth leadership development
Children are perhaps the most important population to engage in societal change around healthy behaviors. That’s why we support Youth Participatory Action Research (Y-PAR), an evidence based program that supports teens in identifying and tackling the challenges and assets in their own community, and organizing to make change.