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About Us

Food $ense teaches youth and adults with limited incomes skills and behaviors to eat healthfully and maximize the value of their food dollars and food assistance benefits.

Food $ense partners with community agencies to reach eligible youth and adults.

Food $ense complements food assistance programs by working directly with people to provide experiential education that builds skills needed to provide themselves and their families with nutritious, low-cost, and safe food.

Funding Sources
Food $ense funding is a collaborative effort of USDA Food Stamp Program, USDA- Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), Washington State University, and over 655 local and state community partners.

Funding is based on two federal funding streams. The USDA-CSREES that since 1969 has funded the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program targeting families with young children; and since 1991, the USDA's Food Stamp Program that has funded nutrition education for those families or individuals who are food stamp recipients.

EFNEP: Federal funding for EFNEP has been relatively stable for many years. WSU commits additional resources to EFNEP with a total annual budget of just over $1 million. The program is available in Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, and Yakima counties.

Federal funding for Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) is provided as an administrative expense of the Food Stamp Program. It is a reimbursement program where local and state agency commitment of non-federal, public funds to nutrition education targeting food stamp recipients can be matched dollar for dollar with federal funds. WSU Extension has contracted to conduct FSNE since 1991. Between 1991 and 2008, WSU's FSNE funding has grown from $70,000 in 2 counties to over $11.1 million in 27 counties.

Benefits of Programming

Why do community agencies partner with Food $ense? It's simple! Food $ense:

  • Extends services to clients with no added cost to the agency
  • Increases food security for clients
  • Decreases work absenteeism
  • Supports school learning objectives
  • Provides flexible teaching locations and meeting times

Families benefit because Food $ense:

  • Increases ability to prepare tasty meals with basic, low-cost food
  • Uses recipes that are quick, easy, tasty and healthy
  • Strengthens relationships between family members
  • Improves school performance
  • Encourages better health habits

In addition to these benefits, the Food $ense experience promotes self- reliance and participants have fun learning through interactive, hands-on activities.

Food $ense IMPACT Highlights FY2007

Descriptive Statistics

Total number of community partners:


Total number of individuals reached:

100,289 (60% adults; 40% youth)
  • Total number of people who are food stamp eligible:
80,231 (80% of total; 68% adults; 99% youth)
  • Total number of minorities reached in direct teaching:
48,139 (48%; 45% adults; 55% youth)
Total number of contacts made: 2,391,180





Behaviorial Outcomes

Food $ense Youth Reporting Improved Practices (n= 40,194)
Change Indicator

# Evaluated

# Improved

# Changed

Participates in 60 min. physical activity/day




Eats breakfast with 3 food groups




Eats more fruit/ veggies daily




Wash produce more often before eating




Parent Newsletter Survey Change Indicator

# Sent Home

# Returned

# YES Responses (%)

Changed some food preparation to lower in fat, sugar or salt.



184 (45)

We now buy healthier snacks for my child to eat.



775 (67)

We did physical activity this week.



841 (82)

We eat more fruits and vegetables.



692 (61)

We are more aware of the MyPyramid serving sizes.



98 (62)

We eat more meals together as a family.



116 (73)

I would attend classes about healthy eating if they are offered.



407 (29)

Selected Success Stories on Diet Quality & Physical Activity

  • A woman from a class 8 years ago stopped a nutrition instructor to report how much she had learned. She had lost 50 lbs, the family was eating regular meals together, the children were eating a healthy breakfast before school, she was substituting oil for lard, and they were saving money at the grocery store. - Chelan-Douglas Co.
  • After parent-teacher conferences, many teachers said parents reported…their families adopted better eating, exercising, and grocery shopping habits; their kids were reading food labels; they used ‘adventure bites’ (tasting new foods) at home; asking to buy vegetables and fruits sampled in class…and liked whole wheat tortillas, tofu, nonfat yogurt; and some reported eating fast food less often. - Mason Co.
  • One fifth grade classroom decided to do an hour of physical activity for Valentine’s Day celebration and cut way back on the candy treats. -Grays Harbor Co.
  • After taking nutrition classes, one sixth grader said, “(Now) I can make dinner when my dad isn’t in the mood to cook. Then we won’t have to eat instant noodles or microwave hot dogs. We can actually sit down to a decent meal of Pyramid Pizza or a Skillet Meal.” - Clark Co.
  • A parent shared that their child came home and asked for seconds on vegetables for dinner. She then measured them to make sure she was eating more than one serving because she was trying to get her five servings for the day. - Yakima Co.

Contact us: Christa Albice 253-445-4541| Accessibility | Copyright | Policies
WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center, 2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup, WA 98371-4998 USA