Family & Consumer Sciences

Image of homeecwordle

The population of Eddy County is approximately 54,000 with 12.8% of the population below poverty (2012 U.S. Bureau of the Census). The two largest age groups of the population below poverty level are the youth groups ages <5 (38.3%) and 5-17 (28.1%). The largest ethnic groups are Hispanic (44.7%) and White (51.5%). The largest family type is the husband-wife householder with children < 18 (50.3%). Low income levels often indicate low educational achievements. The situation in Eddy County is such that 32% of all persons 25 years of age and older have obtained less than a high school level of education. 7.4% have attained less than a ninth grade level of education. These low income and low educational groups can improve their health through basic nutrition, food safety, food preparation, and food resource management education.

Our county's Extension home economics program is devoted to strengthening family life. In a rapidly changing world, the challenges facing individuals and families in our county are great. With the problem solving philosophy, we strive to develop programs to deal with complex issues facing local families. Eddy County families are faced with many choices every day about money, time, child rearing, nutrition and health. To make the best choices, residents need practical, research based, unbiased and accurate information. Our Home Economics unit covers programming in:

Improving consumer and family skills Building leadership skills Diabetes Education/Kitchen Creations Disaster Preparedness Family Health and Wellness Family Life and Child Development Family Resource Management Food Preparation Food Safety Nutrition Food Preservation

We teach through:

Local programs Community projects Group training sessions

Learn more about Extension programs and resources:

Food & Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential to improve and maintain health. Five of the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and hypertension have links to diet. Obesity and overweight now effects 57% of New Mexico adults. These individuals are at an increased ricks of illness from hypertension, lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems and cancers. Low income populations such as that of Eddy County, face numerous problems associated with inadequate nutrition. In some cases, children do not enough to sustain health and to grow and develop at optimal levels. Even more commonly, individuals make poor food choices, which can lead to chronic disease problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Although benefits such as Food Stamps and WIC provide vital resources to some of those in need of food assistance, this resource is often not maximized. This is often due to recipient's lack of knowledge of the relationships between health and four areas: basic nutrition, food safety, food preparation and food resource management. In addition, many limited-resource individuals do not receive the encouragement and reinforcement needed to put such knowledge into practice. Education can help low income families and individuals maximize their resources to improve their nutritional status. Youth as well as adults should be targeted so nutrition related disease and obesity can be prevented. All Eddy County residents, including individuals, families, youth and senior citizens will be targeted for nutrition programs offered throughout the county, as will various agencies that work with Eddy County residents and their families.

Available Presentations Include:

Choosing Healthy Beverages (Sugar Shock Presentation), Nutrition and MyPlate (new food pyramid), Food Safety & Sanitation, Emergency Food Storage Preparedness, Introduction to Diabetic Cooking, Healthy Eating Practices for Families, Obesity in Teens & Children in America, Nutrition 101, Healthy Dieting for Life.

Nutrition Resources

  • Healthy Eating on a Budget
    Make cost-conscious, healthy food choices with's new pages featuring meal planning, smarter shopping, basic cooking and sample menus.
  • Spend Smart, Eat Smart
    Planning, shopping, recipes, and helpful how to's brought to you by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Diabetes Education

Kitchen Creations: A Diabetic Cooking school is for people with diabetes and their families. The Kitchen Creations curriculum was written to respond to the needs of people with diabetes in New Mexico. 34.3 percent of Eddy County adults have been reported to have diabetes and it is a growing epidemic. Kitchen Creations consist of four classes which last about 3 hours each and focuses on accurate diabetes information and practical food preparation skills to increase healthy food choices and manage carbohydrate intake. Presentations are given to various groups on diabetes meal planning and prevention of diabetes.

Kitchen Creations, a cooking school for people with diabetes and their families, is jointly supported by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service. A healthy diet and appropriate food choices are considered the cornerstones of diabetes management. The four lessons taught in Kitchen Creations were developed to help families manage diabetes through meal planning and healthy food preparation.

The goals of Kitchen Creations include: Increasing knowledge of healthy food choices and meal planning for people with diabetes. Presenting healthy versions of familiar foods, and introducing new foods, that are economical and easy to prepare. Providing hands-on opportunities to learn cooking techniques that use new or more healthful ingredients. Encouraging behavior changes by preparing and tasting healthy foods. The cooking classes are taught in a team approach by the home economist and a local registered dietitian with a background in diabetes management.

Kitchen Creations: A Diabetic Cooking School Program is a series of 4 classes are taught twice a year throughout the county. Once in Carlsbad (Spring) and once in Artesia (Fall). If you are a diabetic and have never taken the course, call the office to register for our upcoming classes.

Financial Education

Education is the key to the dilemma of making the family's income stretch to meet needs. Extension educational programs, which address budgeting, financial management, saving, investment and preparation for retirement can help families gain skills in managing their resources to better meet their current needs. Extension programs which help them achieve success now will stand them in good stead for the future. Our financial education programs are offered throughout the year on a variety of topics. The goal of the financial education workshops are to inform the community about the value of money and allow money to work for them and not against them. The programs teach young adults and individuals that have little banking experience how to spend, save and manage money wisely. Programs are taught throughout the year and offered in the office as well as available upon request in community settings.

Available presentations include: Account Management, Tracking your spending, Smart Budgeting, Get smart about credit, Understanding your FICO score, College Cash Tracker, Save at School, Money Smarts.

Parenting and Child Development

Because children acquire the abilities to become responsible, caring adults and citizens of their society from the people who are most intensely involved with them, parenting is the most important and challenging job any of us can have; yet, it receives little support or recognition in our society. There is very little formal training for this task and parents are often isolated and without adequate support networks. The programs offered by the Eddy County Extension Office address these needs of parents in our community.

People often wonder why parents attend parenting education classes. Isn't good parenting innate? Studies have shown that in fact most parents can benefit from some guidance in order to do the best job they can in raising their children.

In our own community, a Risk Assessment Survey identified family management problems as being one of the top three risk factors in the county that leads to substance abuse among teens. These included:

lack of clear expectations; failure of parents to monitor their children; excessively severe or inconsistent punishment.

Another study, commissioned by the extension office, states that parenting education can strengthen a child's ability to survive and succeed. What families lack is the societal commitment to support parents in tangible and effective ways as they raise their children.

Research confirms that children raised in supportive, warm, affectionate homes in which there are clear and consistently reinforced rules are less likely to engage in at-risk behavior and are more likely to be successful. This authoritative parenting approach is the style that is the foundation for the concepts taught in our nurturing parenting program.

Lack of employment opportunities, low levels of education, lack of family support, the number of food stamp recipients (14 % of the population), the number of children on free and reduced lunches (51% average), and the high divorce rate in the county were factors considered by an Extension advisory committee in recommending the continuance of Extension parenting education programs in Eddy County. The agent teaches workshops year-round from the Nurturing Parenting curriculum to parents and professionals of Eddy County, teen parents and in early childhood education settings that are available upon request.

Available presentations include: The Philosophy and Practices of Nurturing Parenting, Ages and Stages of Growth for Infants and Toddlers, Ways to Enhance Positive Brain Development in Children and Teens, Communicating with Respect, Building Self-worth in Children, Understanding Feelings, Understanding and Developing Family Morals, Values and Rules, Praising Children and their Behavior, Alternatives to Spanking, Learning Positive Ways to Deal with Stress and Anger.


The home economics program of the Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service has depended upon volunteer leaders to help extend educational information to the community. As the age increases of current volunteers, there is a need to revamp the system by encouraging younger people to volunteer. Major problems associated with recruiting younger people into the volunteer system of Cooperative Extension include increased numbers of working women and the younger generation tend not to be joiners of clubs and organizations. We are always looking for volunteers to help us for many events throughout the year. Please contact our office if you are interested in volunteering for any of our upcoming programs.

Lifeskills Through Knowledge

Eddy County youth have the potential to be influenced by negative indicators such as crime, poverty, teen birth rate, and single parent families. Basic life skills are imperative in the development of knowledgeable and productive citizens for the future of Eddy County. Home economics subject matter projects include consumerism, nutrition, personal development and creative arts providing stepping stones in the development process. Classes are offered throughout the year and spaces are limited. Please contact us for upcoming classes and registration information.

Newsletters & Publications

Upcoming Events

Vonda Frost
1304 W. Stevens
Carlsbad NM 88220
Phone: 575-887-6595