Heidi LeBlanc is a Utah State University Extension Professor who doubles as Utah’s Food $ense director. She and her team help adults and children in Utah make healthy food choices on a limited budget through group classes and other educational activities.
In a decade as director, participation in the program throughout Utah has increased 634 percent.
In recognition of her 10 years of service in nutritional education the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Services honored LeBlanc with its national Distinguished Service Award in a ceremony in Lexington, Kentucky. It is the highest award given by the organization.
Last year the program helped more than 37,000 adults and children in Utah make healthy food choices.
“We were able to expand into all counties in Utah and we trained and hired additional teachers through matching funds we obtained,” she said.
“We are increasing their food security so that they have enough food to last to the end of the month. We help increase fruits and vegetables consumption, encouraging family meal time and eating breakfast. Those are the types of things we see improvements in with those participating in the program.”