By Stella Harbilas
Lynnette Jean has been named the new associate director for the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program. She began her official duties July 10, 2020
“My focus in leading the Family Nutrition Program is on leveraging our strengths and expertise with those of our community partners,” said Jean. “Our ultimate goal is to create sustainable change that benefits the families in our communities.”
Jean brings eight years of experience in the education and nonprofit sectors, including programming on a national level. Her own story, which was “woven by family, culture, food and community,” has provided inspiration for her work.
“Lynnette led her previous program through the transition to virtual education, which is a current priority for us due to COVID-19. She has a passion for social justice and truly believes access to health and education is a human right. I am thrilled Lynnette has joined our FNP family and look forward to working closely with her to take our program to the next level,” said Karla P. Shelnutt, UF associate professor and Extension nutrition specialist. Shelnutt serves as the nutrition program leader for UF/IFAS Extension and is the principal investigator of the Family Nutrition Program.
Jean previously served as director of programs for Common Threads, a national nonprofit that provides children and families cooking and nutrition education to encourage healthy habits that contribute to wellness. Jean managed fund development of $4.7 million and led overall strategy and program implementation in several major cities in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania.
While living and working in Jacksonville, Florida, Jean also served as a member of the Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, and the Food, Hunger and Nutrition Network, and as a regional board member and alumni board president for Teach for America. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds certificates in Chicanx and Latinx Studies and global cultures.
The UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program (FNP) has provided free nutrition education to SNAP-eligible people in Florida since 1996. The program focuses on eating healthy on a budget and being more physically active to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease. FNP also provides free resources for local organizations to support and promote healthy eating and physical activity in our communities. Funding comes from the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP, through the Florida Department of Children and Families.