BANNER ELK — Avery County residents are going green—on their dinner plates, that is.
Melanie Cashion, who is known across the county as the “food lady,” is helping individuals and families across the local area eat better and live healthier lives through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
EFNEP is a federally funded program through the Avery County Agriculture Extension Service which teaches new skills to families, individuals and communities to help them overcome barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.
Through teaching a series of 10 classes, Cashion is tasked with going into schools, civic organizations and homes to educate individuals and families on healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices, such as preparing and eating more meals at home, making healthy food and drink choices, increasing physical activity and limiting TV time.
When going out to the community and sharing the benefits of EFNEP to clubs like the Rotary Club of Avery County, Cashion enthusiastically shares the positive impact the program has made on the lives of children and adults alike, with the latter being the group that Cashion is especially passionate about.
“In one class, it was a group of young, pregnant mothers. One mother did not know you could by chicken and make chicken nuggets yourself at home. She literally did not know anything about cooking. Anything. So I take these folks from beginning stages and teach them how to cook. We also talk about how to use your food dollar wisely, how to plan a