100 Years of Helping Communities Make Healthy Choices
The first home demonstration agents, now called family and consumer sciences extension agents, were hired years ago to teach food preservation aimed at helping rural girls earn additional farm income and have a safe, nutritious and adequate supply of food at home. Home food preservation proved particularly important in helping families survive the Great Depression and to thrive through two World Wars.
While we still teach proper methods of food preservation and keeping food safe, FCS focuses on broad aspects of food-related health and wellness concerns, including living with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood and heart disease as well as preventing childhood obesity.
For example, the Pinellas County Family Nutrition Program teaches families who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ways to make healthy food choices. From school classrooms to community classrooms, staff and trained volunteers teach people through hands on activities and food demonstrations how to create family menus, how to handle and store food safely and how to save money at the grocery store.
This summer we will be working with several youth programs in the community teaching kids to cook healthy foods through a program called Xtreme Cuisine. Young chefs ages 7-15 will have an opportunity to try their hand at whipping up creative and delicious recipes and learn valuable culinary skills they can use for a lifetime.
If you are looking to improve your financial health, Extension can help with that too. Creating a spending plan, strategies to get out of debt and ways to increase your savings are just some of the topics covered by Florida Master Money Mentors in classes they offer in the community. Mentors also provide one-on-one coaching to help you with an individual problem or concern.
Today, 100 years later, we show our audiences how to use knowledge to enhance their lives in lasting, meaningful ways.
The Cooperative Extension System was established by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, and allows us all to benefit from the research and education of each state’s land-grant universities. In Florida, Extension has helped millions by sharing the latest information from the research engines of the University of Florida and Florida A&M University and converting it into practical knowledge we use every day.
Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County