Family and Consumer Science – Important in Today’s World?
As the Family and Consumer Science Agent for Clay County Center, I remember bygone days when Family and Consumer Science meant many things to many people. When I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees, the correct title was Home Economics, I still talk to residents in my county who do not really understand Family and Consumer Science but immediately nod their heads when I remind them that we were once the Extension Home Agents.
As a Home Economics student, the department encompassed the following areas of specialty:
Family and Child Care
Food and Nutrition
Textiles and Clothing
After many years, I am still able to recall my foreign Food and Nutrition professor with his interesting accent, drilling the six basic nutrients into my head: fats, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and water!
As the global perspective has changed, so has my role. As the Extension agent for Clay County, my primary responsibility is to provide county residents with research based information as it relates to Food Safety, Food Preservation, Local Food and Food’s impact on personal health.
There is a wealth of information to be shared as the need becomes more prevalent for concern about where our food comes from and the safety of its processing. Also, there are still many people wanting to preserve the food from their gardens. Food safety in food preservation also continues be important. There seems to be a number of people who still do not understand the importance of using a pressure canner, not a hot water bath, when canning their low acid foods. Food preservation is not the only area of concern about food safety. Everyone needs a periodic reminder of how long to safely store foods in the refrigerator.
One only has to turn on the television or read an article on the internet to get news releases on food and our health. While these sources may not always be one hundred percent accurate, people are still reading them and forming opinions based upon them.
I also feel that Cooperative Extension has a vital role in providing research based information on the latest information concerning food and our health. For example, how many people understand that celery, a wonderful food for consuming raw or in our cooked recipes, is very high in sodium as it is harvested out of the ground? Of course those individuals with hypertension issues should be aware of this fact.
While I still have a personal interest in all the other traditional areas of Family and Consumer Science, I understand my role as the FCS agent in today’s world. I feel very fortunate to have the tools available to assist the county with the latest, accurate information on Food.