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What does your Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent do?

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What does a Family & Consumer Sciences Agent do? 

As your Family & Consumer Science Agent, I am responsible for working with people of all ages and walks of life in their communities within Johnston County. My focus is to educate and encourage healthy living. As your Family & Consumer Science Agent, I present workshops on a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to nutritional label reading, cooking skills, meal planning, meal preparation, preparing jellies and jams, freezing farm fresh produce, canning fresh fruits and vegetables, and other food preservation methods. These workshops may be conducted on site at the Johnston County Ag Center or at an area church. I also work with area food banks to help promote “More In Your Basket” and other helpful programs to make the most of EBT/SNAP benefits. 

Please contact Gwen Williams at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Johnston County Center at 919-989-5381 for information and feel free to check out our offerings below. 

Examples of Programs Offered by our Family & Consumer Sciences Agent:

Basic Food Preparation–This series takes place in 3 or 4 sessions. Each session is 2 hours. This class is designed to teach you basic cooking skills to help prepare meals. This is a hands-on workshop teaching you food preparation skills, food safety, and how to create a meal from scratch. Participants will learn how to create meals for dinner with a protein dish, starch, and vegetable. Each session will be $20.

Cook Smart, Eat Smart is a 4-week program geared towards helping you make healthier choices through nutrition label reading, smart shopping, and healthy cooking methods. This program includes knife skills, cooking demos, and more!

Eat.Move.Save. is a 4-week program that focused on helping you with two specific goals- eating more fruits and vegetables and increasing your physical activity! Participants in this program also learn shopping hacks to save money while at the grocery store.

Food Preservation Made Easy —This is a series of 4 to 6 sessions teaching Fermentation, Dehydrating, Boiling Water Bath Canning, Pressure Canning, and Freezing fresh produce. Preserving foods grown in your garden is an excellent way to continue eating fruits and vegetables when they are no longer in season. FCS Extension offers hands-on, research based workshops to teach you how to safely preserve local foods. Each session is $10 to cover the cost of materials and produce. 

It’s A Busy Life Cooking Series—This series takes place in 4 sessions. Each session is 2 hours. It is designed to help you prepare meals for the week and eat more meals at home, saving you time and money. Eating at home is healthier because you know the cooking process and ingredients used. Participants learn how to prepare and prep meals for their freezers that will be ready for dinner in the Crockpot, Instapot, Air Fryer, and one skillet. When paired with suggested sides, meals fit into MyPlate healthy eating guidelines. You will bring meats of your choice from a list provided. Spices, vegetables, freezer bags will be provided at the session. Each session will be $20.

Meal Planning Workshops—Learn how to plan meals in advance using sales papers, seasonality, and foods you already have to plan meals and form a grocery list. This skill helps you save time, money, and reduce the amount of food wasted. 

Med Instead of Meds is our Mediterranean Diet healthy eating series. This 6-week series allows you to dive into the benefits of healthy eating and focused on one concept each week. This is our most nutrition-based program but still offers cooking demonstrations and recipes!

Safe Plates for Food Handlers is a free program for churches, fundraising groups, and other organizations that do occasional cooking for large groups and want to learn how to keep people safe and prevent foodborne illness. This course does not provide any certifications to meet food regulations for food managers; this program is an extra measure to help food handlers practice food safety. Fee for this class is $45

ServSafe for Food Managers is an accredited program for those who operate or manage retail food businesses. This program is ANSI-approved and we take pride in working with the Johnston County Environmental Health team to answer your food regulation and certification questions. This is a certification course that meets Food Code regulations. Fee for this class is $145 per person.