Supporting the health of Kentucky SNAP-Ed participants through engagement
in local Policy, System, and Environment exploration.
Overview: This grant is a component of the University of Kentucky Human Environmental Sciences (HES) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED) effort to improve the health of Kentucky residents. Funded by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) programs grant, the funding for this project is funneled through the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which in turn, contracts with the UK HES department to deliver educational programs. The University of Kentucky offers a range of SNAP educational programs related to nutrition and health education.
A primary focus of this initiative is to help community members in high percentage SNAP eligible counties in Kentucky improve their understanding of their communities and access to health resources and healthy foods. Working with this new understanding, community members are anticipated to make more effective decisions or act to improve their access to health.
This project begins with efforts to understand the systems and interactions within the community in order to better understand what influencers of personal health may be.
Supporting the health of Kentucky SNAP-Ed participants through engagement in reshaping local policy, systems and the environment is both an engaged education process – allowing SNAP Ed participants to better understand the PSE elements impacting them, and an action intervention strategy. Understanding the local PSE connections and implications will provide residents a clearer roadmap to effectively navigate and negotiate local policies, systems, and environmental factors. In doing so, this project will strengthen the long-term capacity of community members to assess and address change initiatives within their community.
There are four primary activities to this grant. They are:
- Conducting PSE assessment in eight priority Kentucky locations (each year) identified as areas and neighborhoods where high percentage of the SNAP-Ed target population reside.
- Enhance understanding and operation of food systems by identifying local food providers/grocer needs, challenges, and best practices.
- Develop self-assessment tools and processes to engage SNAP Ed participants and community members to identify and improve elements of local PSE.
- Provide Extension agents training for supporting and sustaining PSE assessment and change efforts.
Jackson County Extension Office strengthening their local food system by providing maximum support for their farmer’s market. Over 250 residents attended opening day June 27th, 2017.