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Become a UC Master Food Preserver

Lab Class Instruction
Do you love preserving food? 
Do you have volunteer spirit?
Do you like to teach and share your knowledge and skills with others?
Do you enjoy working as a team with other like-minded food preservering enthusiasts?

Applications for the 2024 Certification Training is now closed.

Link to submit your interest for future certification classes


The UC Master Food Preserver Program (MFP) is part of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). A UCCE Master Food Preserver volunteer is anyone eighteen (18) years of age or older who, on an unpaid basis, agrees to provide a service or conduct an activity that supports the goals of the UCCE MFP.

San Joaquin County residents with an interest in community service, food safety and home food preserving can apply for the training. They are adults from all walks of life: professionals, educators, business people, homemakers, retirees – brought together by a common interest in home food preserving and outreach to their community.  Volunteers share in this video why they generously give their time to the various programs at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.


The purpose of the UC Master Food Preserver Program is to extend research-based information about home food safety and home preservation to the public. In exchange for training and materials received from the UC and external experts, UC Master Food Preserver volunteers share their knowledge by offering food preservation education and support within their local community.

Steve filling jars

The UC Master Food Preserver Program has the following goals and impacts for California and it’s citizens:

  1. Healthy Environment
    1. Decreased food waste through the use of safe home food preservation techniques for imperfect or excess produce.
  2. Healthy Communities
    1. Decreased health care costs through the reduction of food borne illnesses and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
    2. Increased engagement of cultural and ethnic communities through year-round access to culturally specific seasonal produce.
    3. Strong community partnerships through collaborative projects.
  3. Healthy Families
    1. Increased food security through access to safe and nutritious foods throughout the year.
    2. Increased food resource management skills in preparing and storing foods to maximize food dollars.


Prior to acceptance of training applications, there will be a mandatory orientation Zoom meeting where we will discuss the goals of the training and program expectations once the training is completed. Prior to the meeting, we will send out a notice with the date, time and sign-up registration for the Zoom orientation.  Make sure to complete the MFP training interest survey (link above) so you will receive the notification.

Intensive 11-week training consists of bi-weekly live Zoom classroom lecture sessions as well as hands-on lab classes. Training commences after the New Year. Zoom classes will meet bi-weekly. The in-person labs are at the Robert Cabral Agricultural Center, 2101 East Earhart Ave, Stockton. Previously, the bi-weekly Zoom classes were Monday evenings 6:30-8:00 pm and in-person labs were Saturdays 9:00am – 1:30pm. These days/times may be subject to change.

slicing peaches

In addition to bi-weekly classes and in person labs, you can expect various assignments:  reading, homework, home preservation practice and quizzes, all of which need to be completed before the next class.

Master Food Preserver Trainees must pass a final examination with a minimum score of 70%, this will also prepare them to start their first year.

The training program provides a basic, general, integrated, and practical course in the following topics:

  • Food Spoilage, Foodborne Illness and Prevention
  • The Science Behind Food Preservation Principles
  • Preserving High-Acid Foods by Boiling Water and Atmospheric Steam Canning
  • Preserving Low-Acid Foods by Pressure Canning
  • Pickling and Fermenting Foods
  • Preserving Jams, Jellies, Fruit Spreads and Syrups
  • Cold Storage: Refrigeration, Freezing, and Root Cellaring of Foods
  • Drying and Smoking Foods
  • Emergency Preparedness: Food and Water
  • Extension Teaching and Information Delivery for Outreach Education
  • UCCE MFP Policies and Procedures

Training is taught by experts in their fields, including University of California faculty and staff, as well as experienced UCCE Master Food Preservers.


fruit leathers
The tuition for the training course will be determined and announced at the time applications are made available.  The nonrefundable fee covers the cost of required textbooks, name badge, UCCE MFP apron and miscellaneous training expenses. 

In addition, due to University policy, UCCE Master Food Preservers must be screened through Live Scan fingerprinting to be accepted as a UCCE volunteer. Fingerprinting can be done through various law enforcement agencies with their associated fees.


  1. Email – all program correspondence is disseminated through email.
  2. Internet access – weekly live classes via Zoom, online weekly quizzes, viewing recorded lectures/demonstrations,and accessing online resources.
  3. Commitment to attend all classes, study, and completion of homework.
  4. Attendance of the Zoom lectures and the Saturday in-person labs.


  • A MFP volunteer trainee is eligible for “appointment” after becoming certified (passing the training course) and submitting required documents.
  • First year appointment (internship) requirement – 50 hours of volunteer service in approved education outreach activities. Attendance of monthly meetings is strongly encouraged.
  • Subsequent appointment years thereafter – 12 hours of continuing education and 25 hours in approved volunteer education outreach are required in each subsequent year to remain a certified UCCE Master Food Preserver. Attendance of monthly meetings is strongly encouraged.
  • All Master Food Preservers will record CE (continuing education) and volunteer hours through the online UCCE Volunteer Management System Program. It is encouraged to record regularly and not less than monthly.
  • Master Food Preservers must be able to schedule time to be available for projects, effectively communicate with the public by phone, personal contact, and/or group contact, and through written language.
  • Master Food Preservers must be dependable to show up and complete tasks.
  • All in-person activities for which hours are reported as Master Food Preserver time, will represent themselves as a Master Food Preserver wearing their name badge and apron.
  • A UCCE Master Food Preserver will not use the UCCE Master Food Preserver title for commercial purposes or monetary gain.
  • Appointment is valid for a period of one year (July 1 – June 30). Annual reappointment requirements – fulfill required in-service and outreach commitment hours and signing of program documents.
  • Follow UCCE policies and procedures.


Master Food Preservers volunteer in various ways:

  • Responding to questions about home food preservation and food safety that came into our help desk.
  • Staffing booths at county fairs and local farmers markets.
  • Service on public education activities sponsored by the MFP program, including Zoom lectures, in-person lectures, and demonstrations.
  • Contributing articles for our blog/newsletter.
  • Contributing pictures and articles for social media.
  • Organizing and planning program activities.
  • Preparation of artwork, posters, fliers, displays and educational materials.
  • Service on MFP program committees.
  • Administrative and clerical work for the MFP program.
  • Service setting up and/or cleaning up for MFP events, meetings and trainings.