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Connecting Communities

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the home economics programs expanded to help address the needs of struggling Oregonians by connecting households and communities.  The state’s home demonstration agents worked with local county relief committees, prepared bulletins on low cost foods, taught courses on food preservation methods, distributed seeds for subsistence gardens, and helped coordinate communal canneries and kitchens to ease food shortages.  By the end of the decade, home economics staff had expanded considerably to include 12 county home demonstration agents who coordinated the efforts of over 3,800 volunteer project leaders. 

Guide for Weekly Market Order to Provide Adequate Diet at Minimum Cost--1933
by Jessamine Williams and Lucy Case

Portable Community Cannery
Portable community cannery sponsored by Josephine County Granges and the OSC Extension Service, ca. 1930s.

Following WWII, it was clear that more needed to be done to fully integrate home economics into the Extension program.  While agriculture extension had clear economic benefits and 4-H could be marketed as a youth program, convincing legislators to consistently fund home economics was more challenging.  Since the 1950s, new programs in personal and household finance, parenting, emergency preparedness, and physical fitness have helped Extension to reach even more Oregon families.  

Lois Sather at a food research meeting
Lois Sather displaying food products at a food research meeting in 1958.
The art of mopping
"The Art of Mopping"
Photograph from a series of posture pictures demonstrating the best posture for mopping the floor.