Celebrating Success

SNAP-Ed Celebrates Food Champions

SNAP-Ed Demonstrates Smart Shopping

Shutterstock photo of two women shopping in the produce section.

Cooking Matters, a new curriculum our educators have started to implement, has given New Mexicans the opportunity to learn about all of the tips and tricks to healthy and effective grocery shopping. Check out what Mary Shortell, Service Coordinator with the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, had to say about the Cooking Matters program after spending the day with ICAN Nutrition Educator, Tina Louise Carpenito!

"I don't have words to express our appreciation for your Pop-Up Grocery interactive session! You taught us SO much about label reading. Most of us looked just at the calorie or fat content, but learning how to choose the best bread is something we just weren't expecting.

I spotted a resident in the Lobby with her 'Cooking Matters' booklet. She was very animated as she explained what she learned to another resident.

Also, thank you for those great insulated shopping bags. They are especially helpful for our residents who use the Department of Senior Affairs van to go shopping. They often have to wait after they check out, and those bags will be a big help. Gratitude, not just for bringing your programs to us, but for the love and sparkle with which you do it."

SNAP-Ed Creates Sustained Behavior Change

Children participating in physical activities in a gymnasium.

In the spring of 2017, a 5th grade student at Nina Otero Elementary became enthusiastic about participating in Eat Smart to Play Hard. Prior to Eat Smart to Play Hard, this student had behavior issues at school during class and she was overweight. Once the campaign began, she started completing the recipes and activities at home with her family, eating healthier, including eating more fruits and vegetables, and doing more physical activity. Her teachers noticed her disruptive behavior changed as she became a happier and more productive student. Coach Lujan (school implementer) observed her continued healthy behaviors long after the campaign ended, and that she did a complete turnaround during the remainder of the school year!

SNAP-Ed Supports Working Families

Family of four preparing a healthy meal together.

This Santa Fe family participated in focus groups during the formative research of Eat Smart to Play Hard, to determine how to help children eat more fruits and vegetables, and with their input, along with many other New Mexico families, ESPH was developed. This child was part of ESPH for the last three years at Sweeney Elementary School. When her father was asked about his motivations to support his daughter's participation in ESPH, he said, "I work full time and I am always very busy, but what encouraged me is that my daughter was so inspired to learn about the program and to learn about eating better and eat fruits and vegetables that she passed it on to me. So I started cooking with her and with the whole family to this day."

SNAP-Ed Collaborations Complement Without Duplicating Effort

Volunteers helping to distribute produce to people in the community.

After her daughter at Valencia Elementary in Roosevelt County completed all 12 recipes and activities of the ESPH program and received the grand prize, a mom contacted the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities (HKHC) coordinator to say how much her family enjoyed ESPH. She works at Cannon Air Force Base and is the coordinator for Exceptional Family Member Support. She wrote a grant for a "cooking camp," and asked the HKHC coordinator to collaborate with her to support families in preparing healthy meals together, with an emphasis on healthy portions and fresh fruit and vegetables, using ESPH recipes and activities for her program. Produce to the People, another HKHC collaboration, connects community services with produce distribution.

SNAP-Ed Fosters STEM Learning

Hydroponic garden in classroom growing lettuce and tomatoes.

"It [the hydroponic garden] has been a fabulous project, my students are very involved and excited about it. They planted the seeds, measure and record growth weekly, change the water, and will be testing and researching pH levels. Other classes are also asking how they can get involved, and I feel that this enthusiasm could grow exponentially. I am so thankful for this opportunity and definitely think it has expanded my students experience with fruits and vegetables." - Brita Milligan (8th grade teacher at Vista Middle School in Las Cruces)

“It was very fun and we had a great time, plus the lettuce tasted delicious! We compared some store lettuce to our fresh lettuce, most of us liked our fresh lettuce. We had a lot of fun here and can’t wait for the next project. We also recorded all of it in our plant journals. It was a fun experience and I’m hoping we’ll be able to do it again some time. I think doing that again will help us grow more respect for one another. Also, if we do it again more people will want to do it at their homes or other places. We are a big team here and we made the plants look amazing, they looked so healthy, then we ate them. But either way, we had a great time and hope there will be more of these things happening. – Vista Middle School Student

SNAP-Ed Bridges Gardening and Nutrition

Ohkay Owingeh garden harvest laid out in the sun.

Kenneth Maes, Healthy Kids Healthy Ohkay Owingeh coordinator, is revitalizing his pueblo's farming tradition, promoting gardening to encourage healthier eating and physical activity, and more importantly, connecting the community socially and culturally to their traditions. "This is part of a healthy community - pass on your culture through stories; get exercise; and provide your family a healthier alternative to store foods" Maes said.

Healthy Ohkay Owingeh is part of Healthy Kids Healthy Communities, a New Mexico Department of Health initiative that partners with communities to increase opportunities for healthy foods and active living.

Maes, with support from the Ohkay Owingeh Wellness Center and volunteers, built hoop houses and raised bed gardens for the Head Start program, Community School, and Wellness Center. He doubled the community garden to 2 acres, and incorporated nutrition lessons into the native language classes in the community school. He organized a community event where families built 15 raised beds to grow traditional foods at home.

Ken said, "I talk to people. Every person I see, I talk about the garden, and word is spreading."

SNAP-Ed Connects Communities

Honey crisp apples growing on a tree.

When Tina Louise visited the City of Albuquerque Open Space Center she noticed an abundance of apples on trees and on the ground. Tina Louise is a NMSU Cooperative Extension Service ICAN Educator and is known as the "Resource Queen of Bernalillo County." Thinking of who would be able to put these apples to use she approached the staff at the Open Space Center and was put in touch with the site director.

After exchanging a few emails with the director and several food pantry sites, Tina Louise was able to connect the right people to have the apples picked and transported to several food pantries. Four adults and ten youth from First Presbyterian Church volunteered to pick and take the apples to the Rio Grande Food Project and Taylor Ranch Food Pantry. The quick thinking of Tina Louise has opened the door to future partnerships between the City of Albuquerque Open Space Center and agencies that serve families in need. Tina Louise said "For me, it's all just amazing how everything comes together so beautifully when the hearts are in the right place."

SNAP-Ed Promotes Healthy Habits

Three children tearing up lettuce for a healthy salad.

"Cooking with Kids gave my boys the opportunity to try healthy food under a nurturing system with peers' support. Tears came to my eyes during by last visit with Cooking with Kids, at a Salad Green tasting class.

Brandon was tasting everything and putting notes for me on his Cooking with Kids educational booklet of the items he liked the best so I could use it for a shopping guide next trip to the grocery store. I was so excited because Cooking with Kids has somehow broken down the walls I have been struggling with my children since toddler-hood.

Richard my other twin prefers a piece of fruit to a sugary snack but was less excited for veggies. Now, he is my biggest salad eater. I wanted to sing out, 'Hallelujah!' It was a miracle to see the transformation both boys had.

I believe, solely, because of this outstanding program, the course of our whole family's nutrition and health has changed. I am forever grateful!" - Michelle Romero-Babcock

SNAP-Ed Builds Life Skills

Young boy excitedly preparing a healthy dinner for his family.

"I just wanted to thank you (Kids Cook!) for your work with our children within our community here in Peña Blanca. I especially would like to thank Carol for her patience with our little ones. My son enjoyed the class so much, he had to fix dinner for the family which everyone enjoyed." - Mrs. Guerrero

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