Bridging Cultures, Fostering Community Health: Isi Muñoz Addresses Nutrition Equity in Bar Harbor

Maine SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educators are making a difference in their local communities! Beyond providing direct education to help Mainers shop, cook and eat healthy on a budget, Nutrition Educators also lead policy, systems and environmental (PSE) change interventions to improve access to nutritious food and physical activity in their area.

Isi Muñoz, Healthy Acadia

When envisioning how she wanted to approach policy, systems, and environmental change (PSE) work in her community, Isi Muñoz (Healthy Acadia – Hancock County) set out to help migrant workers in her area improve access to nutritious food. While many of these workers had been coming to the island for over 10 years, Isi believed there was still more that could be done to make sure they had access to healthy food that respected and celebrated their respective cultures.

On top of providing culturally responsive nutrition education, she worked with local partners such as Open Table Mount Desert Island (MDI) to help provide more friendly and familiar access to existing food assistance and meal programs in the area. Specifically, she worked to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and to local sites where they could enjoy healthy, free community meals.

Throughout the year, Isi spent time getting to know her community better. She went to presentations and events to learn about their experiences and built connections at local pantries. She made sure their voices were heard in her programming, and she is excited to keep supporting them to eat well, stay active, and feel welcome in the Bar Harbor community. Isi currently has various activities planned with partners on the horizon, such as a cooking class with a Jamaican chef to honor the Caribbean heritage of many of the workers. She is also is working on an upcoming Cultural Fusion Fest to provide seasonal workers with a welcome and introduction to the community and to connect them to its diverse resources.

Isi’s work applies all six trauma-informed principles encouraged by Maine SNAP-Ed: empowerment; voice and choice; peer support; cultural, historical and gender issues, safety and security; and trustworthiness and transparency. Learn more about trauma-informed nutrition programming here and more about Maine SNAP-Ed here.

Eliana Huffman