Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

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The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is a federally funded program administered through the United States Department of Agriculture. The North Carolina component began in 1969. By encouraging people with limited resources to take advantage of existing public food assistance programs, it seeks to improve the nutrition of undernourished people in the state. In 1970 it added a youth component. Through the program adults and children have been taught to prepare nutritious food, and they have also learned the relationship between nutrients and health.

EFNEP has been conducted by aides under the supervision of home economics agents, and they have generally worked one-on-one with people enrolled in the program. Aides have had enough flexibility to emphasize particular components as needed, including nutrition, sanitation, gardening, child feeding, and meal planning. Immediate results of the program suggested success in the areas of nutrition awareness, public food assistance enrollment, and increased dairy food and vegetable consumption.

Participants in the program have been largely rural. A 1981 study indicated that ninety percent of them were classified as "hard-core poor" or people making less than $7,500 per year.

Readers may also be interested in our essays on the history of Home Demonstration in North Carolina and Demonstration work.


Carpenter, William L. and Dean W. Colvard. Knowledge is Power. Raleigh, NC: School of Agriculture and Life Science, North Carolina State University, 1987.

United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. "Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program."

Wessel, Thomas, and Marilyn Wessel. 4-H: An American Idea 1900–1980. Maryland: National 4-H Council, 1982.

[author: Amy Manor]

Woman pouring water in a wash tub, preparing to do laundry Hazel Carris of Pitt County at her 4-H exhibit, "Drink Your Way to Health" L. R. Harrill and others launching the U.S.S. Tyrrell on July 10th, 1944 in Wilmington, N.C. L. R. Harrill revealing the plaque placed on an ambulance donated to the United States Army Medical Department in honor of former 4-H club members now serving in the armed forces
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