Waupaca native to teach nutrition for county
By Angie Landsverk
Waupaca County’s University of Wisconsin-Extension office has a new nutrition educator.
It is Waupaca native Kelly Hammond.
“I really like community health. I really like community education,” said Hammond, whose first day on the job was Dec. 15.
The Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP) is a UW-Extension program funded by federal dollars.
The program seeks to help low-income families and individuals choose healthful diets, purchase and prepare healthful food, handle it safely and become more food secure by spending their food dollars wisely.
That includes students and adults.
“We teach second and fourth graders in any school in the county which qualifies,” Hammond said.
Elementary schools in Clintonville, Marion and New London currently qualify.
During six-week lessons, she will teach students about topics like the food groups and making healthy choices.
Since the Farm to School program teaches third-grade students about gardening and focuses on local food sources, Hammond said some students receive three consecutive years of information about healthy eating.
“That we can offer this to our kids is huge,” she said. “I’m meeting these fourth graders. They know the parts of plants and about healthy choices.”
Hammond will also work with other programs, such as Head Start; Women, Infants and Children; the Aging, Disability and Resource Center; and the Waupaca School District’s Lifelong Independent Vocational Education program.
She will teach adult learners how to make a grocery list, how to use what they already have in their pantries and how to stretch their food budget dollars.
Hammond is passionate about these topics and brings a variety of experiences to her new role.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in communication and public relations and minors in sociology and international studies.
Hammond then spent a year in France, teaching English to middle and high school students.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet,” she said. “I really liked education, but I was not sure in which area.”
Her year in France was followed by a move to Milwaukee, where she got a job in marketing and quickly discovered she did not find the work fulfilling.
Hammond volunteered with English as a Second Language learners as a way to stay in the education field.
She was out of college several years when she realized that if she could teach anything, it would be about nutrition and food.
Hammond decided to make a career change and go back to school to become a registered dietetic technician.
She is on her way to receiving an associate in applied science degree from Central Arizona College.
While that degree is not required in her role, Hammond said she decided to go back to school and study nutrition because, “I felt like if I wanted to be an expert in nutrition, I really needed to be an expert in nutrition.”
She wants to share unbiased and updated information with others and is in her final semester of classes, which will be followed by an internship.
Prior to becoming Waupaca County’s WNEP nutrition educator, Hammond worked at Goodwill Grows in Appleton.
It was a former nonprofit within Goodwill, which primarily involved Farm to School work.
Hammond is happy to be working here.
Her husband, Todd, also a Waupaca native, is a physical therapist at ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca.
Hammond looks forward to working with Christi Beilfuss, who is Waupaca County’s WNEP coordinator.
“I think Christi and I are going to make a great team,” she said.