Master Food Preserver Volunteer Policy

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver Program Requirements

The Master Food Preserver (MFP) Volunteer will serve to extend University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s food preservation educational program to provide the public with research-based information from UMaine Extension and USDA. The Master Food Preserver Volunteer will work closely with Kathy Savoie and Kate McCarty in responding to the general public’s requests for food preservation information and in planning, implementing, and evaluating educational programs and displays.

Volunteers will receive 30 hours of extensive training on methods of canning, freezing, drying, making jams and jellies, pickling, and storing foods in root cellars; general food safety and storage; the background behind the establishment of those procedures. Volunteers will also receive updating and resource materials during their time as a volunteer.

After training, volunteers will pass a minimum competency assessment on their knowledge of food preservation and storage methods, and on their ability to use resource materials.

Minimum Competency Assessment

In order to assess that participants have achieved a minimum level of competency in the subject of Food Preservation, the following four criteria must be met:

  • Successful completion (minimum score 80%) of the Master Food Preserver Post Test.
  • Successful completion (minimum score of 80%) of the Master Food Preserver Kitchen Lab Test.
  • Attend at least 80% (8 out 10) of the kitchen labs.

Once successfully completed, participants will be eligible to complete their volunteer hours (minimum of 20 hours) in order to complete their requirement to become a Master Food Preserver. The 20-hour commitment can be fulfilled by:

  • Preparing and staffing educational exhibits at local farmers’ markets, fairs, stores or community events.
  • Conducting food preservation presentations and/or hands-on workshops as part of a team or on your own for community groups, special groups, school or the general public.
  • Writing articles for newsletters, newspapers, etc.
  • Judging canned goods at Agricultural Fairs.
  • Responding to food preservation questions from the general public.
  • Public Education Programs

The Master Food Preserver will identify them self as:

Master Food Preserver Volunteer,
University of Maine Cooperative Extension

This title is to be used in program publicity and program descriptions.

The MFP will need to have programs pre-approved by Kate McCarty by calling 207.581.8363 or emailing

Requests for program material (printed, supplies, teaching tool kits, and materials) will need to be made to Kate McCarty at least two weeks prior to the program.

The cost for hands-on food preservation workshops is set at $20/attendee to cover the cost of printed materials, supplies, and food. MFP volunteers and Kate McCarty will identify the cost recovery plan prior to each workshop.

MFP volunteers will be reimbursed for their purchase of pre-approved perishable foods to be used in public education programs.

Allowable educational resources to refer the public to include:

Public education programs include pre-tests, post-tests, evaluation and civil rights forms that you are required to submit to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County.

Volunteer Hours Policy

The purpose of this policy is to clearly define for Master Food Preserver Volunteers and University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff what constitutes volunteer hours. This policy includes both Master Food Preserver Volunteers in training who are working towards their initial certification requirement of 20 hours of volunteer time, and certified Master Food Preserver Volunteers who are continuing in “active status” and who are required to volunteer 10 hours each year they remain active.

There are three categories of volunteer hours in the Master Food Preserver Program; all are of equal importance in meeting the Master Food Preserver Plan of Work goals and improving the lives of Maine people. We refer to these hours as Administrative, Community, and Education.

Administrative volunteer hours include time conducting leadership and/or organizational activities of Master Food Preserver Volunteer programs and projects. Administrative time would include time spent planning and conducting meetings, developing communications, e-mails and letters, conducting surveys, entering data and other tasks involved in managing a Master Food Preserver project. For example, a volunteer may serve as an application screener for the Master Food Preserver class.

Community hours are contributed while working on Master Food Preserver-approved community projects that are non-educational but which are in support of our Extension Master Food Preserver program mission. For example a volunteer may include time conducting approved food preservation judging at Agricultural Fairs.

Education hours are contributed while teaching or preparing Master Food Preserver or Extension educational programs, answering food preservation questions, developing educational materials, displays and resources, and writing newsletter articles or publications.

All Master Food Preserver Volunteer hours need to be conducted in conjunction with programs and projects which meet the approval of Kathy Savoie, Extension Educator, or Kate McCarty, Food Systems Professional.

The honor system is used to turn in valid hours using Master Food Preserver Monthly Report forms available through an internal website. Reports are subject to review and approval by Kate McCarty.

Travel to and from volunteer Master Food Preserver Volunteer Programs: Travel time may be reported on your Volunteer Report for volunteer hours. Time spent traveling while conducting Master Food Preserver Volunteer programs may be included in your volunteer hours contributed. We encourage volunteers to track mileage traveled as a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver Volunteer as you may claim that as a tax deduction. Mileage and time spent traveling to and participating in educational programs for your ongoing learning does not constitute volunteer hours.

Calculating Master Food Preserver Hours

MFP volunteers may consider reporting hours trivial, but the importance of this is critical to the success and continued support of the UMaine Extension Master Food Preserver Volunteer Program. Quantifying time invested in these activities and the number of people reached through our activities are important measures that demonstrate the worth of the Master Food Preserver Volunteer Program. Potential funding is more easily attained when significant efforts and impact can be proven. Also, the ability to successfully compete for funding is critical to our financial survival. Master Food Preserver Volunteers should be made aware of the value in reporting their activities and time spent in service.

Valid Master Food Preserver Hours

  • Any volunteer time accepted or approved by Kathy Savoie or Kate McCarty counts as volunteer hours.
  • Attendance at educational programs where Master Food Preservers Volunteers are receiving further training does not count as volunteer hours.
  • Travel time to and from a volunteer activity counts toward volunteer hours.
  • An example of time spent on activities which are typically NOT approved includes setting up chairs at a local garden club meeting. However, if you were teaching a food preservation workshop to the local garden club and are clearly doing such in your role as University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver then the time would be approved.