Virginia Success Stories

Virginia Family Nutrition Program Virginia Family Nutrition Program

Virginia Family Nutrition Program

This article was written and submitted by the Virginia Family Nutrition Program.

The Virginia Family Nutrition Program is a comprehensive nutrition education program offered in a variety of settings to both youth and adult audiences. It has resulted in significant dietary behavior change as well as positive nutrition messages. Materials are distributed in short-term educational activities with a reinforcement of messages using social media.

Type of Program
Nutrition Education

Years of Program Implementation
1996-Present

Number of Participants
113,789 direct contacts in FY2014

Target Audience
Youth and Adult SNAP recipients and other low income individuals

Program Evaluation
In FY2014, 3087 adults completed the assessment tool at pre and post educational intervention. Several key findings were as follows:

  • 89% of participants showed improvement in one or more food resource management practices (i.e. plans meals, compares prices, does not run out of food or uses grocery lists).
  • 92% of participants showed improvement in one or more nutrition practices (i.e. makes healthy food choices, prepares foods without adding salt, reads nutrition labels, and has children eat breakfast).
  • 73% of participants showed improvement in one or more food safety practices (i.e. thawing and storing foods properly).

For further information please contact Elena Serrano, Interim Director or Judy Midkiff, Project Associate, Operations and Evaluation. All logos are used with permission.


The Food Security Project of the Virginia Family Nutrition Program (renamed the Food Access and Availability Project of the Virginia Family Nutrition Program)

This article was written and submitted by Sarah Misyak.

The Food Security Project takes a multifaceted approach to improving local food access for low-income individuals and families in Virginia. While the program includes a direct education approach, environmental initiatives are an important aspect of the program. Key initiatives include the development of a short farmers market orientation lesson for SNAP-Ed clients, the creation of a tool-kit to assist farmers market managers in launching, managing, marketing and evaluating Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs for the acceptance of SNAP benefits at their market, and training volunteers to increase community capacity.

Type of Program
A systems-level approach to improving food security in Virginia

Years of Program Implementation
2012-Present

Number of Participants
2300 contacts over the past program year

Target Audience
Mothers of young children and change agents, or individuals and groups that drive change in a community. Farmers market managers are the main change agents considered in this initiative due to their ability to increase access to fresh, local foods for low-income individuals and families.

Program Evaluation

  • Formative: Surveys of our program assistants, focus groups with target population, guided shopping trips with target population, statewide survey of farmers market managers and local food organizations
  • Process: monitoring where and how often the lesson is being taught, number of partnerships with farmers market managers and other local food organization across the state, volunteer recruitment
  • Outcome: In the future: pre and post monitoring food security status and fruit and vegetable intake in target population receiving orientation compared to those who are not, volunteer contacts and activities, monitoring in-state and interstate partnerships on food security initiatives

Statistics and Program Impact
The program made 2300 contacts over the past program year (2013-2014) in 23 farmers markets across Virginia. In 2014, 48% of adult comprehensive participants improved their food security status.

For further information please contact Meredith Ledlie Johnson or Sarah Misyak. All logos are used with permission.