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Washington State University Nutrition Program

About Food $ense

Food $ense nutrition education encourages youth and adults with limited incomes to share and apply skills-based learning at home and school to affect positive health behaviors associated with obesity prevention. In FY13, expanded education outreach included environmental supports and policy actions to promote access and availability of healthy foods and physical activity in communities in which SNAP-eligible families live, learn, work and play. In collaboration with community partners, over 1,100 environmental support and policy actions were taken to positively affect food and physical activity environments of the target population.

Benefits of Programming

Ethno-racial distribution of Food $ense clients (FY 2013)

In FY2013 610 agencies across Washington State partnered with us to provide nutrition education to 161,000 individuals. Of the 119,031 participants enrolled in direct education, 71% were SNAP recipients, 56% were youth in schools, and 45% self-identified as persons-of-color. On average, participants in direct education received six lessons.

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

Environmental supports increase dosage of behavioral messages.

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

Read client success stories »

Funding Sources

Food $ense includes two programs. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is funded by USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is funded, in part, by USDA Food & Nutrition Service (FNS), Washington State University and local community partners.

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.