1969: EFNEP begins in Georgia

EFNEP (Expanded Foods and Nutrition Education Program), a federal program through USDA, is piloted in 10 counties across Georgia.

During the 1960s, there was recognition of the link between poverty and malnutrition and realization that many Americans were not only poor but were suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Cooperative Extension was aware that available educational programs and resources were not reaching segments of the population, including low-income groups. Pilot studies in several states helped identify effective approaches for contacting, teaching and maintaining education programs. Recommendations based on results of these pilot studies were the basis for initiating USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in 1969.

It's a unique program that currently operates in all 50 states as well as in American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Programming is designed to assist limited-resource audiences in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes and changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sound diets, and to contribute to their personal development and the improvement of the total family diet and nutritional well-being.

Faced with the challenges of paying rent, utilities, day care and other family expenses, families experience the stress of trying to provide a variety of nutritious foods and maintain healthy diets on limited budgets. EFNEP provides a variety of tools and ideas to help families cut food costs and provide healthy meals and snacks for family members.

Adults enrolled in EFNEP learn how to:

  • Plan low cost nutritious meals.
  • Prepare quick and healthy meals and snacks.
  • Shop for the best food buys.
  • Keep foods safe to eat.
  • Eat right and light to control sugar, salt, fat and calories.

EFNEP also provides nutrition education classes for at-risk pregnant women as well as pregnant and parenting teens.

Individuals enrolled in these sessions learn how to:

  • Eat healthy for moms-to-be.
  • Properly feed infants and preschool children.
  • Provide positive food experiences for children.

Fun food experiences, that teach children healthy food choices, are conducted with preschool and school age youth through:

  • Preschool and daycare center programs.
  • School based classes.
  • After-school community classes.
  • Summer workshops and day camps.