Consumer economics was born here.
Family and consumer sciences (FCS), formerly known as home economics, gave birth to consumer education in 1909 with the founding of the American Home Economics Association, now the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).
FCS today is the comprehensive body of skills, research, and knowledge that help people make informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. The field represents many areas, including personal finance, nutrition, parenting and childcare, interpersonal relationships, family systems, career exploration and preparation, family resource management, design and merchandising, interior design, the apparel industry, and environmentally responsible construction.
About Our Founder
FCS History and Accomplishments
Areas of Influence
Products/Services of Interest
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Founded in 1909, the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) is the only professional association representing members from both multiple FCS practice settings and content areas. For example, AAFCS’ 5,000 members work as secondary school FCS teachers, Extension educators, college deans and professors, and dietitians in settings such as state and federal government and test kitchens for food companies.
It All Began with the First Female Graduate of MIT
AAFCS was founded by the first female graduate and professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ellen H. Richards, who was an activist for consumer education, nutrition, child protection, and the application of scientific and management principles to the family. In 1909, she and a small group of women and men met in Lake Placid, NY, and created what became known as the American Home Economics Association. In 1994, the organization changed its name to the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences.
FCS Is Proud of Its History and Accomplishments
You may not have known that family and consumer sciences was behind these significant consumer measures:
- Pioneered research to develop specifications for consumer goods and more descriptive labeling on textiles.
Advocated successfully for the National School Lunch Act, which brought more nutritious meals to children.
- Developed and taught food handling and preparation to help families avoid the spoilage and contamination of food.
Fostered the movement for preschool education.
- Researched and taught about household sanitation.
- Conducted food studies, leading to policy changes such as enriching flour.
- Performed the first extensive study of body measurements, thus standardizing sizes of garments and patterns.
- Helped protect the well-being of the nation's families in times of war, depressions, and other disasters through emergency feeding, nutrition, food, and clothing conservation programs.
- Took the lead in teaching “life skills”—personal finance, nutrition and dietetics, human/child development, and housing and interior design.
- Assisted in establishing home economics/FCS programs in college and universities.
- Advocated for critical improvements to "No Child Left Behind."
AAFCS members are influencing generations of consumers in these areas:
- Personal Finance
- Food Sciences and Nutrition
- Human Development
- Apparel Design and Manufacturing
- Textile and Fiber Sciences
- Housing and Interior Design
- Health and Physical Fitness Training
- Child and Elder Care
- Parenting/Child Development
- Family Resource Management
- Consumer Affairs and Education
- Consumer Product Development
- Management of Work and Family Life
- Home Economics
- Financial Planning, Investing
Our members want to buy products and services such as these:
- New technologies for K-12
- Computer software and equipment for secondary and undergraduate classrooms
- New technologies for home use
- Online education/distance learning products
- Culinary training software and resources
- Biotech and organics—teaching/purchasing aids
- Food and nutrition related educational items
- Obesity, fitness, and health information and products
- Credit, banking, consumer spending resources
- Life skills products
- Financial planning, investing, retirement resources
- Parenting software, publications, programs
- Teen living, teen pregnancy resources
- Safe and effective cleaning products
- Career training resources
- Sewing machines/kits/threads/software
- Products for quilting, knitting, embroidery
- Interior design products, particularly environmentally responsible items
- Textiles/apparel products
- FCS curriculum/lesson plans and software
- Kitchen and cooking supplies and appliances
- Housing, assisted living, retirement products
- Resources for child, family, and community development
- Crafts and educational games
- Tools that support social, emotional health
- Drug, alcohol, tobacco, violence prevention resources