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IFIC Executive Director Reflects on Cooperative Extension’s Centennial

After viewing the Smith-Lever Act on display at the National Archives, Kimberly Reed, executive director of the International Food Information Council (IFIC), reflects on the personal impact Cooperative Extension and 4-H has had on her life:

In 1980, when I was nine years old, I lost my mother to cancer. My grandparents Avis and Max Reed took it upon themselves to help my father Terry raise my brother Mark and me. I soon found myself living on their farm in rural Upshur County, near Buckhannon, West Virginia. My grandmother (“Mommers”), who served as a 4-H leader when my father was growing up, quickly enrolled me in 4-H. I soon found myself – a shy, bookish girl – thrust into a group of outgoing kids. I signed up for cooking and sewing projects and was “highly encouraged” (“led by the hand” might be a more accurate term) by Mommers to participate in the county public demonstration contest. As a fourth grader, I had no appreciation that this meant teaching a room full of strangers and three “tough” judges (including a school principal!) how to make homemade hot cocoa. I had no idea that the judges would hurl unanticipated questions at me like “what are the nutritional benefits of your hot chocolate?” I was terrified, but, somehow, I got through my first-ever public speaking experience and even won first place!

Read Reed’s full blog posting…

  • Agriculture, Human Sciences & Natural Resources
  • Commission on Food, Environment, & Renewable Resources

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