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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a United States Department of Agriculture funded program that successfully addresses critical societal concerns by employing paraprofessional staff and influencing nutrition and physical activity behaviors of low-income families, particularly those with young children.

The EFNEP paraprofessional staff, called Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs), deliver a series of hands-on, interactive lessons to low-income families. Lessons are evidence-based and tailored to the needs of the audience. This education helps families develop skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to maintain a healthy diet and stay physically active.

In Minnesota, EFNEP is administered through the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development.

How does EFNEP work at the University of Minnesota?

University of Minnesota’s EFNEP team partners with community agencies to deliver EFNEP curriculum through practical direct education lessons. Engaging programs are provided either one-to-one or to groups.

CNEs teach in a variety of settings, such as food shelves, schools, income-based housing complexes, and community centers. Classes are taught in a variety of languages throughout Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, and Dakota counties.

Annual data confirms that graduates from EFNEP programs:

  • Choose healthier food. 88 percent read nutrition labels and make healthier food choices.
  • Eat healthier foods. 92 percent eat more fruits and vegetables — on average, 1.4 more servings per day.
  • Stretch their food dollars. 83 percent take steps to better manage their food budget, such as planning meals and shopping with a grocery list.
  • Handle food more safely. 66 percent are more likely to follow food safety practices, such as storing and thawing food properly.
  • Increase their physical activity. 40 percent are more likely to engage in at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity.

Get more information about our EFNEP program

Partner with us to offer education to your agency’s participants: Contact EFNEP.

Download the brochure: EFNEP brochure (PDF).

Read EFNEP Extension Educator Cassie Silveira’s blog about the differences between EFNEP and SNAP-Ed: Just what is EFNEP?

Get more information by contacting an EFNEP staff near you below. Not sure who to contact about a program or partnering? Use our form to be directed to the correct person: Contact Health and Nutrition.


Related resource

Investments in EFNEP Pay Big Dividends, Now and in the FutureU.S. Department of Agriculture — This March 31, 2016 blog post demonstrates how EFNEP "benefits the greater society."

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