Nevada resident comes to grow her gardens, stays to teach cooking, nutrition

When Lacie Young moved all the way from Nevada to Carter County, Tennessee, she did not yet have a job lined up waiting for her. In fact, that was on purpose. Rather, she came because of her gardens and stayed because of the community she found once she arrived. The job came several months later.

Young started her new job at the University of Tennessee Extension Office last Monday, May 13, working with the Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program (TNCEP) as a program assistant.

“I have always had an interest in human development and psychology,” Young said.

She said this interest developed through her education over the years, but it was her personal interest in nutrition that became the catalyst for her move from Nevada.

“Nevada is a harsher climate for growing your own food,” she said. “This is a more hospitable place.”

Young said she enjoys learning and teaching others about how to be self-sustainable, so being able to grow her trees, fruits and vegetables better in Carter County was important to her.

It was only after she and her boyfriend moved here in September that she found out about the job opening at the UT Extension Office, and she said she waited to truly job search until they were able to finalize the house purchase.

Young said she will be teaching classes about nutrition for low-income families and how to best take advantage of their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP) to help them become more self-sustainable.

“There is so much you can do with food,” she said. “When you eat well, you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you feel confidence, and when you feel confidence, you can do a myriad of things.”

In between moving here and getting the job, however, Young said they found a community that encouraged them to stay.

“When we visited here two years ago, we fell in love with the community,” she said. “I have already met a lot of great people, and they have been so open to me.”

Young said she is currently still learning some of the ropes of her new position, but said she hopes the lessons she has learned can be of use to other people.

“We can help them understand cooking and nutrition can be exciting and fun, and you can enjoy doing it together,” Young said.

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