About Us

The Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) works to improve the nutrition and health of audiences with limited resources in communities throughout Indiana. NEP has existed in Indiana since 1994 as a part of Purdue Extension.

We focus on five areas: nutrition, food safety, food security (hunger), physical activity and food resource management (stretching food dollars).

  • SNAP recipients
  • Individuals with limited resources (youth, seniors, singles, homeless, migrants, families, single parents)
  • Schools with 50% or more free and reduced lunch
  • Communities with high poverty rates

The Nutrition Education Program is funded by two federal funding streams: 1) SNAP-Ed, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education Division and 2) EFNEP, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

SNAP and SNAP-Ed are two very different programs. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is funded by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. SNAP-Ed stands for SNAP-Education.

SNAP SNAP-Ed
Formerly known as Food Stamps. Provides economic benefits to eligible, low-income individuals and families for food purchases. Focuses on nutrition education. Helps people with limited resources eat smart and move more.

Yes. NEP has existed in Indiana as a part of Purdue Extension since 1994. Purdue Extension is a network of Purdue University experts with offices in all 92 Indiana counties. Extension works to build vibrant communities, strong families and profitable businesses on Main Street and at the farm gate. Learn more with this informational video.

Free Lessons

We offer 4 free programs for adults and families as well as schools and after-school programs. Click on each to learn more.

Our practical, hands-on programs will help you:

  • Stretch your food dollars
  • Plan fast, easy and healthy meals
  • Handle food safely
  • Increase physical activity
  • Prepare healthy snacks
  • Make vegetables fun and tasty
  • Find out about SNAP benefits and other community resources
  • MyPlate
  • Dietary guidelines
  • Meal planning and budgeting
  • Reading nutrition labels
  • Basic food preparation
  • Food safety
  • Physical activity

Our caring and trained Nutrition Education Program Assistants teach the lessons. You can meet some of them now by watching these videos.

Our lessons are great opportunities to build your skills. No cooking experience is required.

Yes! When you attend lessons, you not only get great information but also:

  • Earn a free cookbook and handy kitchen items (bowls, colander, meat thermometer, potholder, can opener, measuring cups/spoons and more)
  • Participate in live cooking demonstrations
  • Sample prepared food
  • Take home easy, low-cost recipes
  • Learn basic food preparation skills

No. Sometimes when people see the name Purdue Extension, they get a little concerned, thinking our nutrition lessons are college level. Rest assured, they’re not! Our highly interactive lessons are fun, easy to understand and designed to help you make healthy choices.

We provide lessons in communities throughout Indiana at locations like these below. To sign up for a lesson near you—or just get more information—click here: Sign Up for a Lesson.

Senior & community centers WIC
Faith-based organization Work sites
Food pantries/meal sites Libraries
Preschools/schools Shelters
Farmers markets Head Start

 

 

Community Partners

If your agency serves participants who are SNAP-eligible or eligible to receive government assistance, you’re more than likely eligible to partner with the Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP).

Our target audiences include:

  • SNAP recipients
  • Individuals with limited resources (youth, seniors, singles, homeless, migrants, families, single parents)
  • Schools with 50% or more free and reduced lunch
  • Communities with high poverty rates

NEP offers two major initiatives to communities, free of charge:

  1. Nutrition Education/SNAP-Ed
    Provides free nutrition education to youth and adults through schools and a variety of community groups.
  1. Community Wellness Coordinators
    Help make the healthy choice the easy choice and collaborate with community partners on broader community change involving policy, systems and environmental initiatives.

Here are common examples of our community partners:

Nutrition Education/SNAP-Ed Community Wellness Coordinators
For free nutrition and health lessons For broader community change
Senior and community centers Local government
Faith-based organizations Health coalitions
Food pantries/meal sites Schools
Preschools/schools Work sites
Farmers markets Health care
WIC Food retailers
Work sites Community organizations
Libraries Parks and recreation
Shelters Farmers markets
Head Start Food pantries

 

 

NEP offers four free programs to community partners, serving two groups:

  1. Adults and families
  2. Schools and after-school programs

Click here to learn more about these programs:

  • Making Your Food Dollars Work
  • Being Active
  • Small Steps to Health
  • CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health)

All of our NEP programs are free.

Eligibility

No, you do not have to be on SNAP. If you participate in programs offered by agencies like these, you’re probably eligible for SNAP-Ed:

  • WIC
  • Head Start
  • Shelters
  • Food pantries and more

No. NEP lessons are an additional resource available to you and will not affect other benefits.

For more information on SNAP, please visit the State of Indiana website: http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm

Use these resources to find emergency food organizations, food pantries, food banks and/or soup kitchens near you.

Indiana’s Emergency Food Resource Network:
https://www.purdue.edu/indianasefrnetwork/search.aspx

Feeding America
http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

Visit Purdue Extension page or watch this informational video to learn more about Extension and how it can help you.

Purdue Extension is a network of Purdue University experts, with offices in all 92 Indiana counties. It works to build vibrant communities, strong families and profitable businesses on Main Street and at the farm gate.

Nutrition Education Program Assistants

Our Nutrition Education Program Assistants provide free nutrition lessons in local communities. They work with adults and families – as well as teach programs in schools and after-school programs.

Our NEP Assistants are trained extensively by Purdue University dietetic and public health professionals.

They live and work in your local community. In fact, the Nutrition Education Program is available in all 92 Indiana counties.

Community Wellness Coordinators

Our Community Wellness Coordinators (CWC) are one of two initiatives the Nutrition Education Program offers free of charge to Indiana communities.

CWCs help make the healthy choice the easy choice.

They collaborate with community partners on broader community change that involves policy, system and environmental changes.

CWCs could be involved in a range of community initiatives, including:

Health coalitions

Community gardens

School and workplace wellness

Healthy corner stores

Trails and parks

Farm to school

Farmers markets

Active living

Food access

Food pantries

While our NEP Assistants provide direct nutrition education, our Community Wellness Coordinators collaborate with community partners on broader community change that involves policies, systems and environmental initiatives.

PSE change is a new way of thinking about how to improve health in a community and make healthier choices a real option for people.

For years, health programs have focused on individual behavior, assuming that if you teach people what will make them healthy, they’ll do it. Unfortunately, many health issues are related to things beyond a person’s control, such as:

  • Where they live
  • Food available near their home
  • Procedures and practices in schools and workplaces

Being healthy involves more than just individual choices. It’s not enough to know how to be healthy – people also need practical, readily available healthy options around them. PSE’s help make that happen. They make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Policy – Passing laws, regulations, resolutions or ordinances

  • School policy prohibits junk food in school fundraising drives
  • New law allows residents to plant community gardens in vacant lots
  • Healthy meeting, healthy vending machine or healthy concession stand policy
  • Not allowing recess to be taken away as punishment

Systems – Changes to rules or processes of an organization, institution or system

  • EBT acceptance at farmers markets
  • Preschools begin using the Color Me Healthy curriculum (an evidence-based curriculum on nutrition and physical activity)
  • Farm to school programs
  • Creating a community plan to account for health impacts of new community projects
  • The work of a Food Policy Council to improve local, sustainable and secure food systems

Environment – Changing the physical environment

  • Incorporating sidewalks, paths, pedestrian-friendly intersections and recreation areas into community design (Complete Streets policy)
  • Availability of healthy food choices in local restaurants
  • Incorporating trail signage on walking paths
  • Installing bike racks in the community
  • Promoting use of stairs instead of elevator through signage
  • Creating community gardens