PUBLISHED: 5:24 PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Nutrition education program helps stretch food dollars
The Juneau District is pleased to announce the recent hire of Jennifer Nu to the nutrition education program offered through the Cooperative Extension Service. Her duties involve offering educational programs designed to assist individuals and families faced with limited budgets in stretching their food dollars and enjoying healthy, nutritious meals.

The Nutrition Education Program (known as FSNE) is a USDA assistance program created to improve nutrition in the United States, particularly among low-income individuals.

photo courtesy of Jennifer Nu
  Jennifer Nu recently joined the Cooperative Extension Service's nutrition education program.
According to the USDA Food Stamp Program web site, an average of 19 million people living in 8.2 million households received food stamps in 2002.

Food stamp recipients included:

• 51 percent children

• 40 percent adults

• 9 percent elderly (60 years and older)

Under the USDA regulations, states have the option of providing nutrition education to food stamp recipients and those who are eligible for food stamps. To participate in the education programs it is not necessary for participants to receive food stamps. In Alaska, programs are offered in Anchorage, Juneau, Palmer, Nome, Soldotna, and in the near future Bethel.

Jennifer, an employee of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, was hired in August.

"We are so pleased to have Jennifer join us to work with the people of Juneau," said Roxie Rodgers Dinstel, program coordinator for Alaska. "As our families are faced with rising fuel prices this year, it will be doubly important that people use their food dollars wisely. Good nutrition for the money is essential."

As the predominate state sponsoring agency, Cooperative Extension is contracted to provide nutrition education. However, Jennifer works in collaboration with other agencies, such as WIC, the Family Resource Center, Catholic Community Services, the Public Health Department and Public Assistance to reach the intended audience.

Program areas include: adult, child, and elderly nutrition; food resource management; food preparation; and household food security.

Jennifer holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University in international relations and Latin American studies. Her studies focused on sustainable development and food security. In addition to coursework, Jennifer's research took her to highlands of Bolivia, South America, where she worked with local communities on conserving the agricultural biodiversity of local crops and promoting better nutrition through diversified uses of these food resources.

Jennifer is excited to bring her understanding of food security to Juneau and is looking forward to working with community individuals and families on planning and preparing low-budget meals that are high in nutritive value.

For more information about the nutrition education program or to enroll in the program, contact Jennifer Nu at the Juneau District office at 796-6241 or by e-mail at

Dr. Sonja Koukel is the Health, Home & Family Development Program educator for the Cooperative Extension Service UAF Juneau District.