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NC State Extension


tomato canning clubsBack in 1912, with the help of a home demonstration agent, 14-year-old Margaret Brown and her sister joined a club in Mecklenburg County, Margaret said. “I enrolled as a member just because I thought it would do me good in some way.” Did it ever, the sisters’ efforts yielded $223.50 in profit from sales of lettuce, fresh and canned tomatoes, ketchup and pickles. Rewards for Margaret continued through her college days, when she persuaded a college president to buy her canned goods to help pay for her tuition. Given the success, the clubs became as attractive to adults as they were to young girls. According to pioneer extension worker Jane S. McKimmon:

“By 1916 women had taken the bit in their teeth and were running away with the organization. They were hungry for the new experience of learning to do things through seeing them done; for the opportunity of coming together in interesting work; for the chance to produce an income which would furnish them with things they had so long desired; and for an outlet through which they could express themselves and get recognition from others for what they had done.”

Extension is continuing its mission of helping the state’s people use research-based knowledge to improve the quality of their lives…  Such efforts are helping to reinvigorate and maintain communities so that they are healthy and viable places that enhance the social, economic and environmental well being of North Carolinians….”

Ira O. Schaub, North Carolina’s first Extension youth-development agent, once wrote: “Extension work is a philosophy … And the satisfaction that one gets in seeing the improvement in the standard of living of the people served is the most satisfying remuneration that anyone can experience.”

His words, written in 1952 ring as true today as they have throughout the history of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Excerpted from the N.C. Cooperative Extension website. To learn more visit: