Meet FCS Supporter Mary Ann Kerr!

— Written By

The goal of the Family & Consumer Sciences program is to improve the well-being of the family through programs that educate, influence public policy, and help families put research-based knowledge to work in their lives. Since reinstating the program in 2010, the Mecklenburg Family and Consumer Sciences program has worked diligently to positively impact the lives of local citizens.

Image of Kristin Davis, Liz Mixon, and Mary Ann Kerr

Kristin Davis (far left), Extension Agent teaches Liz Mixon (center) and Mary Ann Kerr (right) the basics of preserving bread and butter pickles.

But don’t just take our word for it, let’s hear from one of our supporters…Mary Ann Kerr!

Tell me how you first learned about the Mecklenburg Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) programs.
Many years ago I remember my own mother took multiple food preparation/cooking classes through the Extension program in Guilford County. Some of the recipes and the techniques were passed on to me for use in my own kitchen. When I retired from my nursing career in 2013, I checked the Mecklenburg County Extension website and saw the list of courses offered locally. At that point, I was “hooked.” My children also have been active participants in 4-H Programs which are another significant contribution to our community by Extension.

Image of bread and butter pickles

Bread and butter pickles from the Sustainable Living Series experiential canning class.

What inspired you to become a supporter of the Mecklenburg Extension Family & Consumer Sciences programs?
I have always been a huge proponent of preparing meals from “scratch” and of using local foods, but I had never had the time or the knowledge to can and freeze larger quantities of food. I have also grown increasingly more concerned about the additives and modifications to our food sources and the negative implications these practices have on our health. The work of the Family and Consumer Sciences Program offers me ways to acquire knowledge and the tools to address some of these concerns.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that FCS does?
In my opinion, the most important work of FCS is to provide consumers with research-based information and techniques that promote healthy families and lifestyles, all at a very minimal cost. The “hands-on” classes and the supplementary materials clearly provide a “step by step” approach that meets the needs of all consumers, from the beginner to the most advanced.

How has programming provided by FCS impacted you or your family’s life?
The impact of FCS on me and my family has been significant. In addition to now preparing jams and jellies, I have overcome my fear of the pressure canner. I recently have taken the juices and the herb class, and I am awaiting the summer harvest so I can re-stock the pantry with my own products. Each year I am able to share the salsas, jams, and jellies as gifts for friends and relatives. Recently,  I have begun to identify recipes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation that will capture the essence of my family’s heirloom recipes, while at the same time meeting contemporary standards for safety. They will become part of the family cookbook I’m writing for my children.

What would you say to someone who is considering attending an FCS program or getting involved in other ways, such as volunteering?
To anyone who may consider attending an FCS program or getting involved, I would just say that all my interactions with FCS have been hugely rewarding and just plain fun. Kristin Davis is extremely knowledgeable and professional in her demonstrations and her class delivery. Finally, I would say the Mecklenburg Extension Service, and specifically the Family and Consumer Sciences Program,  is truly a hidden “gem” within our government system, and our community is ever more enriched by the services it brings.

Interested in learning more about Mecklenburg Family and Consumer Sciences?

Visit our webpage.