Cooperative Extension

The Cooperative Extension System (CES) works to empower farmers, ranchers, and rural and urban communities to

  • Improve nutrition and food safety
  • Prepare for and respond to emergencies
  • Protect our environment
  • Adapt to changing technology.

CES is a network of more than 100 of America’s land-grant colleges and universities working with thousands of county and regional Extension offices. A key component of land-grant institutions is their inclusion of agricultural education.

The resources on this page can help people and organizations identify common interests and opportunities to work with Cooperative Extension programs to improve health literacy and address other public health issues in their communities. Read the reports on the Cooperative Extension National Framework and Health Literacy. Explore the programs on this page to see how Cooperative Extensions and their partners are using health literacy best practices in their work.

Cooperative Extension Framework & Health Literacy

The U.S. Cooperative Extension System published their National Framework for Health and Wellness in 2014.

A special issue of the Journal of Human Sciences & Extension provides reports on implementation of the framework, including

CES Programs & Health Literacy

variety of fresh fruits and vegetables

CES programs use health literacy best practices to help communities improve nutrition and address other public health issues.

The following initiatives show how Cooperative Extension programs applied health literacy best practices, such as considering their audience’s culture and language, using participatory designtesting their materials with focus groups, and using trusted messengers, in their work.

  • Vaccine Education in Rural America is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to support community education and CES partnerships in their work to advance adult immunization.
  • Wisconsin Harvest of the Month is a statewide campaign that encourages children and their families to eat more fruits and vegetables. It provides promotional and educational materials (e.g., posters, social media toolkit, message to caregivers) for the campaign. Free sign-up is required to access the materials.
  • Menominee Harvest of the Moon was adapted from Wisconsin Harvest of the Month. Harvest of the Moon uses Menominee Nation language, the Menominee moons, Menominee art, and Indigenous recipes to share generational solutions for healthy living. You can download free materials after completing a survey at Harvest of the Moon. You can read how the program was implemented at Revitalizing traditional Menominee food knowledge and healthy eating habits in youth.


Page last reviewed: February 24, 2022