Master Food Preserver Volunteer Program

Master Food Preservers canning pickles

Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver Volunteer.

What is a Master Food Preserver Volunteer?

Master Food Preserver Volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. Master Food Preserver Volunteer serves as a resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Direct questions about the program to the instructor Kathy Savoie at ksavoie@maine.edu.

Who is eligible to apply?

Through an application process, any Maine resident 18 years or older is eligible to take the Master Food Preserver Volunteer course. To become a Master Food Preserver Volunteer, accepted applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Attend the 9-part, 35-hour Master Food Preserver Volunteer course including hands-on kitchen lab sessions.
  • Complete lab quizzes and pass the final written exam.
  • Complete at least 20 hours of volunteer service within a 12-month period.
  • Complete reports on the number of public contacts made.

To learn more view the Master Food Preserver Volunteer Role Description.

What does the training cover?

During the lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab experiences, you will learn:

  • the latest information on food safety and food preservation;
  • prevention of foodborne illness;
  • food storage and safety;
  • canning basics;
  • canning acid foods;
  • canning low-acid foods;
  • freeze drying foods;
  • pickled and fermented foods;
  • preserving jams and jellies;
  • freezing foods; and
  • drying food products.

What does the training cost?

$300 per person (limited financial assistance available).

What are Master Food Preserver Volunteer experiences?

After completing your training, you will have an opportunity to choose your volunteer experiences. The volunteer commitment can be fulfilled by:

  • helping others to learn, and provide research-based information from UMaine Extension
  • providing information at local farmers’ markets, fairs, or community events
  • conducting presentations and workshops as part of a team or on your own for community groups and schools
  • preparing educational displays and writing articles for newsletters, newspapers, etc.

2024 Master Food Preserver Volunteer Course

The application for the 2024 Master Food Preserver Volunteer course is now closed.

Sign up for our Master Food Preserver Volunteer interest list to be notified when applications for the next class become available.

Locations:

  • UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Dr, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME 04105.
  • Brunswick High School, 116 Maquoit Rd, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Dates/Topics:* 

  • June 18: Introduction, Freeze Drying & Winter Storage Techniques
  • June 25: Jams & Jellies
  • July 16: Drying & Preserving Herbs
  • July 23: Pressure Canning & Freezing Vegetables
  • July 30: Pickling & Fermenting
  • August 6: Freezing Fruit
  • August 13: Tomatoes & Tomato Products
  • August 20: Canning Acidic Foods
  • August 27: Final Exam

Time: 5:30—8:30 PM

Workshop Leader: Kathy Savoie, MS, RD, Extension Educator

*Topics are subject to change based on seasonal produce availability.