Eat It Up: Riley Courtney spreads nutrition education to Connecticut residents of all ages

Riley Courtney ’25 (CAHNR) will spend the summer supporting UConn Extension’s mission to educate the community by teaching diverse groups, from lacrosse campers to seniors, how to up their game when it comes to nutrition.

Originally from Ridgefield, Connecticut, Courtney is working close to home this summer as an outreach intern in Fairfield County. The summer programs that Courtney is working on focus on teaching different community groups the importance of nutrition and how to incorporate healthy choices into their daily diets.

group of smiling people
Riley Courtney, dressed as a pea, at a local farmers market. (provided photo)

“It’s really nice,” says Courtney. “Working with the families, everyone is very engaged and happy to be there and learning how to be healthier. People want to be healthy; it is simply about providing them with the tools to get there.”

For example, Courtney went to a farmer’s market in Danbury with a table of prepared foods to show people what they can do with the produce they pick up at the market. Courtney has also worked with a children’s lacrosse camp in Bridgeport and senior centers in the county.

Another program, called Growing Gardens, works with Fodor Farm in Norwalk to teach families how to grow seasonal produce like tomatoes or pumpkins, and gives participants access to an herb garden. The program also includes recipe demonstrations that families can try.

Courtney is working with registered dietitians for this internship and is learning from their nutritional expertise along the way.

“I really like the idea of ​​working with registered dietitians,” says Courtney. “I can learn from them. They are very knowledgeable.

After UConn, Courtney, who is majoring in kinesiology, wants to become a health and wellness professional. This holistic approach to health includes nutrition, exercise, and other non-drug aspects of a person’s health.

“I am interested in holistic approaches, [helping people] stay healthy before an illness even starts,” says Courtney.

Courtney says this internship and his time in UConn’s kinesiology program are helping him prepare to work in the field after graduation.

“It’s been a great experience,” says Courtney. “I am learning a lot that is helping me get closer and closer to being a fitness and wellness professional.”

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