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Become a Master Food Preserver!


Our organization is run by completely volunteers dedicated to safe food preservation practices. We're always interested in finding new members! While we offer public workshops throughout the year, we only offer the training for new volunteers every other year. We encourage you to attend our workshops, but if you have questions on joining us, most will be answered here. Contact us if you have more questions at immg@ucanr.edu


2018 Graduation

When is the next training?

Our inaugural training class was held in Spring, 2014. The next class will be winter 2021 beginning in February. (We usually train on even-numbered years, but we're trying something new.)

Applications are due February 7, 2021. 

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. We include food for the lessons, a manual, name tag, and apron.

Where do the classes take place?
Labs will be in Bishop, CA at a location with a kitchen. The lecture portions will be offered online so you will need to have access to the internet.

Is the class fun!

You bet! But we do cover some serious topics like food safety and food-borne illness.


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 85%, 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:

  1. Present public classes (as part of a team of instructors)
  2. 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. 

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 presentations 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. Class price varies with each class but usually ranges from $150 to $220. For 2021 it will be $180. This covers all supplies and books.

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.