Become a Master Food Preserver!
When is the next training?
Our inaugural training class was held in Spring, 2014. The next class will be winter 2016.
What does the training program include?
The University of California provides approximately 50 hours of training in food safety and preservation. Preservation methods addressed include canning, dehydrating, and freezing. Safe food handling and storage will be an important component of the class as well.
When is the application due? How do I submit it?
The application is typically due a couple months before the training. Applications are accepted by email, mail, in-person. We're no longer accepting applications for the 2016 class.
When do I find out if I have been selected to participate in the program?Candidates are notified of their status around 6 weeks before class starts.
Where do the classes take place?
Classes will be Bishop, CA.
Who can apply?
The program is open to residents of Inyo & Mono Counties. Prior experience in food preservation is helpful but not required. We seek people with a strong volunteer ethic and desire to make a long-term commitment to the program. A past history of volunteering in the community is one of the main qualifications we look for in applicants; past volunteer activities do not need to be related to food preservation. Applicants must have a desire to serve their community through leading workshops, answering questions from the public, and writing articles.
What are the responsibilities of Master Food Preserver volunteer instructors?
Upon completing all sessions and passing a written exam by 70%, volunteers will be certified as agents of the University of California to provide instruction in food safety and preservation. Volunteers will be responsible for leading public classes and demonstrations on food preservation throughout Inyo & Mono counties. To maintain Certified Instructor status, volunteers must complete both of the following annual requirements:
- Present public classes (as part of a team of instructors)
- Outreach: either in-person (i.e. tabling) or written (i.e. articles or blog posts)
I am interested in taking the class but do not wish to become a Certified Instructor. Can I still take the class?
While priority will be given to those who enroll to become Certified Instructors, there may be room for individuals to audit the class, space permitting. Upon completion of the training, auditors receive a Certificate of Completion but are not authorized by the University of CA to provide instruction in food safety and preservation. As auditors are not agents of the University, they are not subject to the annual volunteer requirement. Taking the class as an auditor is contingent upon available space and is offered at a higher cost. Auditors must attend all classes to earn the Certificate of Completion.
I am unable to attend all sessions. Can I attend just a few days?
Sorry, no. We need our Instructors to be well-versed in all aspects of food safety and preservation, and therefore attendance at each session is essential. If you are unable to commit to all sessions, you may be interested instead in attending public workshops on food preservation. These classes will be shorter than those provided at the Instructor Training, but they will cover the basics of each preservation technique.
If you are interested in taking the entire Instructor Training, we recommend applying to the program when you are able to attend all sessions. YOU MUST COMMIT TO ATTEND ALL SESSIONS. NO EXCEPTIONS.
I am only interested in learning about canning. Can I just go to that session?
No. Please see previous answer. You may wish to attend a public workshop that focuses on canning.
I am vegetarian/vegan. Is there instruction in meat or fish preservation, and if so, do I have to attend that portion of the training?
The canning section may include a presentation on how to preserve meat, and there is also a section on jerky. While students must attend all presentations to become Certified Instructors or receive a Certificate of Completion, no one will be required to handle or process ingredients that make them uncomfortable. Students who do not wish to process meat do not have to do so in the lab portion of the class, but they must watch how it is prepared (by others) so that they are ready to answer questions from the public.
Is there a cost to take the training class?
Yes. It typically costs between $100 to $175 to take the training to be certified as a volunteer. Auditing, if available, will cost substantially more.
Where else can I learn about safe methods of home food preservation?
The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers a free, self-paced, online course for those wanting to learn more about home canning and preservation. You may sign up for this online class at http://nchfp.uga.edu/.
The Inyo-Mono Counties Extension office also has a small library with books from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you're interested in checking them out, stop by our office at 207 W. South Street in Bishop.
Our volunteers offer several workshops each year to the public on a variety of preservation topics. We usually announce these via email and in local media.
If you have additional questions, please contact us at (760) 873-7854.