The University of Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (UGA SNAP-Ed) offers shortened free nutrition education classes in a series known as “Food Talk: Farmers Market.” Adapted from full-length “Food Talk” curricula by faculty and staff from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Food Talk: Farmers Market nutrition education is a collection of short classes taught by UGA Extension staff at stops along the “FRESH on DEK” DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market route.
“We are very excited to provide this new curriculum for our SNAP-Ed program in DeKalb County,” said Judy Hibbs, Nutrition Program Coordinator for UGA SNAP-Ed. “The Mobile Market is very popular in the community, and county staff are doing a great job of recruiting participants from shoppers and delivering sessions.”
The DeKalb Mobile Farmers Market provides access to healthy, affordable food at multiple stops in food deserts and low income communities throughout the county where fresh produce might be hard to come by. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (SNAP benefits), credit cards, checks, or cash and is a program of DeKalb County Extension. “The great part about our new curriculum is that it’s designed to be completed in a short amount of time,” Hibbs added. “Shoppers at the Mobile Market don’t typically have as much time to spend learning as participants do in the full Food Talk class, so people can still learn something even when they’re in a rush.”
Food Talk: Farmers Market offers eight lessons that are taught by SNAP-Ed peer educators and cover topics like how to make healthy choices when dining out; adapt traditional Southern recipes to reduce sodium and increase vegetable servings; and how to plan meals and shopping trips to save money. Participants can take different classes at the same location on different weeks or visit multiple Mobile Market sites to benefit from each lesson. “Food Talk: Farmers Market has been a tremendous addition to the Mobile Market this season,” said Edda Z. Cotto-Rivera, County Extension Agent for SNAP-Ed. “These programs are making real differences in people's lives, and participants have shown great enthusiasm for what they are learning.”
UGA SNAP-Ed is building upon the existing Food Talk lessons to include topics on obesity in addition to adapting lessons for use at farmers markets and in an online course known as “Food eTalk.” Healthy Child Care Georgia, an additional project in UGA SNAP-Ed, is a multi-level Policy, Systems, and Environment (PSE) intervention for early care and education (ECE) centers being piloted in Athens-Clarke County.
“We have a great need for this type of program in the state of Georgia, and we have a capacity to meet that need,” said Jung Sun Lee, an associate professor in the department of foods and nutrition who serves as principal investigator for UGA SNAP-Ed.
Food Talk: Farmers Market is provided by UGA SNAP-Ed for SNAP-Ed eligible Georgians and classes are currently being offered only in DeKalb County. Those interested in attending a Food Talk: Farmers Market class may find how to contact the local UGA extension office at www.foodtalk.org. Visitors to the website may click the green “Attend a Class!” in the main navigation to find local contact information.