i-Three Issue Corps 2016 – Grow Healthy Schools and Communities

Luanne Hughes

FCHS Educator and Professor

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey,

Department of Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS)


Sherri Cirignano

FCHS Educator & Associate Professor

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

Kathleen Morgan

FCHS Chair, & Professor

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Family and Community Health Sciences

Alex DelCollo

FCHS Senior Program Coordinator

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

What is the change you are designing to achieve?

Schools: We want to work with food-service, farmers, and vocational and cooperative education programs to identify opportunities to organize systems/protocols and bring fresh and lightly processed local produce to schools.

Community: In 2015, a Healthy Menu Options Program, (HMOP) funded by state grant funds, successfully enlisted six restaurants in Hackettstown, NJ into the Choose Healthy Warren County project. Goals for 2016 include increasing the amount of healthy menu items at the current restaurants, the number of restaurants in the program and the interest by restaurants in including local produce.

What is the innovative component or strategy you will implement as a result of the design-a-thon?

Schools: We already have a Facebook page, but were noticing limited activity on the page. After some consideration, we decided a Facebook group was a more effective method to reach our target audience. Our schools, farmers and families receive targeted, specific messages, information and requests. A group turned out to be a more effective method of reaching our target audience.

Community: As a result of talking to the Evaluation Key Informants, it was suggested that we develop a comment card to be utilized by consumers at the participating restaurants. If they fill out the card before leaving, the restaurant could provide a coupon for % off at a future visit or a free healthy menu item.

How did the design-a-thon help you?

We spoke with experts in evaluation, design, communication, social media and community engagement. We were also able to network with peers and Extension colleagues/experts. Both experiences provided opportunities for critical thinking about our project. Essentially, it put our project in a different frame of reference and empowered us to look at our work from a new perspective.

 Luanne Hughes Project Page pic 1


Schools and restaurants are key settings to highlight the link between the food and health systems. Constituents tell us more can be done to source more local foods and create healthier menu options for schools and restaurants. Our Extension i-Three project team is work-ing with foodservice, farmers and community groups to identify opportunities to organize systems and protocols that combine farm-to-table with health/wellness in communities throughout New Jersey.

Project Blog Posts


Contact Info


Luanne Hughes, MS, RDN
FCHS Educator & Professor

Alex DelCollo, MS
FCHS Senior Program Coordinator


Sherri Cirignano, MS, RD, LDN
FCHS Educator & Associate Professor

Kathleen Morgan, Dr.M.H., DTR
FCHS Chair, & Professor