Orange ‘agent’ promotes better food, health
By Dave Rogers
For the Record
It was no fluke that Fallon Foster’s latest photo shoot featured her and a rolling cart of program materials.
“I’m constantly going,” says the family and consumer science agent with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
“I’m go, go, go.”
Foster greeted a guest in her office at the Orange County Expo Center on FM 1442, just south of Interstate 10. But she made it clear she spends most of her time on the road.
“I just finished up a ‘Do Well, Be Well’ diabetes class in Bridge City,” she said. “The classes last five weeks and are two hours a day. We have classes in Orange, Vidor, Mauriceville and Bridge City throughout the year.”
She also teaches food handling class year-round, teaching restaurant and other food workers and certifying them with the certificates they need.
And don’t get her started on kids’ cooking camp.
“The No. 1 part of my job is the blessing of being a consumer science agent,” she said. “It’s like I’m a home ec teacher to the public.
“Except I teach adults and children.”
Healthy eating is what this Lamar University grad preaches.
“We’re a microwave society. We want it fast, quick and convenient,” she said. “But it all goes back to healthy eating.
“The obesity rate is high. If we can teach them how to cook and preserve foods, we can bring it down.”
Texas A&M AgriLife is a network of 250 county extension offices and 900 professional educators available to all Texans throughout the state.
It covers everything from animal and plant science to nutrition, recreation and disaster planning.
“The extension agency is to educate individuals,” Foster said. “That’s why you have an umbrella in the Texas A&M system. It’s a database to rely on, stuff that’s already been researched.”
Foster, a native of Beaumont, first came to AgriLife for an internships as part of her health degree at Lamar.
She worked under the direction of then-Orange County extension agent Paula Tacker.
Foster then worked for as the Orange Better Living for Texas assistant for a year. It’s a program that works with lower income families on how to establish a proper diet.
Then she moved back to Beaumont and spent four years working as children’s program coordinator at the Southeast Texas Food Bank.
“Paula told me she was leaving,” Foster said. “So I came back to Orange.”
Foster now is in her final semester toward a master’s degree in public health. And she’s already earned a major honor.
She was named to the 40 Professionals under 40 lists for 2016 by the Beaumont Enterprise, SoutheastTexas.com, Southeast Texas Young Professionals Organization and the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
Hers is one of 40 young lifes profiled in the November 2016 Events Book published by the Beaumont newspaper.
“It was something really exciting,” Foster said of the honor.
But her job provides her with many chances to feel good.
“When they say ‘I really enjoyed your class,’ that makes me feel as good as being recognized,” she said.