Washington State University Extension

Clark County

Master Food Preserver Program

WSU Master Food Preservers

The Washington State University Master Food Preserver (MFP) program is a VOLUNTEER program which trains volunteers to assist and work with the community year-round.  Do you want to learn about preserving food safely, but are not ready for the volunteer commitment?  WSU offers a wide variety of educational programs including “Preserve the Taste of Summer” online course, “You Can!” Food Preservation – 101 series and specialty classes such as How to Preserve Game & Fish, Gifts from the Kitchen and Hands-On Canning Classes to meet the needs of the general public.


Master Food Presrver Class of 2014

Master Food Preserver Class of 2014

If you enjoy volunteering, like helping others, want to learn more about food preservation/food safety and are willing to share your knowledge with the community then the Master Food Preserver Program may be the right fit for you!  Do you have the following qualities?

  • Have a desire to volunteer, learn and share knowledge.
  • Have an interest in food safety and food preservation.
  • Be willing to follow WSU food safety and food preservation recommendations
  • Be willing to represent WSU Extension as a trained volunteer

What is a Master Food Preserver
How to become a Master Food Preserver
MFP course will cover
MFP Training/Internship
MFP Responsibilities/Actvities
Learning and Fun Events
MFP Commitment
Years of Service
History of the MFP Program

What is a Master Food Preserver?

The Master Food Preservers (MFP) are a group of highly dedicated and trained individuals who volunteer in Clark  and Cowlitz county providing information about food preservation and safety.  We do a wide variety of tasks including the Food Safety helpline, developing and staffing displays at community events, testing pressure canning gauges, teaching/assisting in community classes and more.  MFP’s volunteer year-round with the majority of events occurring in Clark county and between the months of June thru September, usually on weekends with some weekday events.

Becoming a Master Food Preserver/Application Process

The initial step to becoming a MFP is to complete the Master Food Preserver 2016 Application and submit with payment of $225.  Mail or drop off the application at Heritage Farm/WSU Clark County Extension @ 1919 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, WA 98665 with a $225 check made out to WSU.  Our program has a limited class size and we do only one class per year.

  • You will attend one of the two orientation classes and an informal interview.
  • After the close of the interviews you will be notified whether or not you have been accepted to fill one of the limited slots in our program and your check will be cashed.

The MFP program has a limited class size due to the in-depth study and labs that are required for the program.  The program has only one class per year.

 Master Food Preserver course will cover:

  • In-depth study of food safety and specific procedures in food handling, preparation and preservation.
  • Update on food safety, food preservation and equipment.
  • Safe and correct food preservation methods.
  • Hands on canning sessions each week.
  • Course fee covers notebook, literature/booklets and supplies.

 MFP Training/Internship

  • You will attend 7 full day Friday sessions (50+ hours) over a seven week period that includes actual hands-on canning experiences.
  • Upon completion of the course and passing a written exam** you will become a WSU MFP Intern and will get to start participating in our many exiciting & varied activities held throughout the year.
  • During your 80* hour internship you will be required to participate in a variety of events including the Food Safety Hotline, Pressure Gauge Clinics, Clark County Fair and more.
  • Upon completion of your 80* hour internship (1st year), you will become a fully fledged WSU MFP Volunteer. You are then required to do the yearly re-certification test**, 50* hours volunteer serve and 10 hours of continuing education.

* All volunteer hours include driving time to and from events.  It is very easy to achieve the required hours to remain active in the program. **All exams and/or tests are open book.

Master Food Preservers Responsibilities & Activities:

  • Serve as a resource person in the county to answer food preservation questions.
  • Develop and staff displays at community events.
  • Answering consumer questions on the Food Safety Helpline and community events.
  • Test pressure canning gauges at clinics and/or events.
  • Teach or assist in teaching community classes.
  • Serve as a team member with WSU Extension Faculty and other volunteers in sharing food safety and preservation information from researched recommendations that provide safely preserved food.
  • And more……..

Learning and Fun Events

  • You will continue to receive the most current and updated information on the latest food preservation/safety research and all new publications as long as you maintain your active status in the program.
  • Sit in on new MFP classes and all MFP community classes at no charge.
  • Join a committee and make a difference.
  • Attend monthly meetings
    • Food preservation updates
    • Upcoming events
    • Chance to win monthly door prize
  • Bi-monthly “Out of the Kitchen” road trips
  • Receive monthly newsletters.
  • Annual recognition reception.

Equipment Needed

  • Home phone and/or cell phone.
  • Computer and/or smart phone with reliable internet access and a valid email address.

Food Safety Helpline is done from the convenience of your home. All volunteer activity sign-ups, reporting of hours and additional food preservation/food safety references are online. Monthly newsletter and other correspondence are received via email.

MFP Commitment

When you join the MFP program you are commiting to attend a 7-week long 50+ hour course of training to become a MFP volunteer.  You are asked to serve a minimum of 80* hours (1st year), 50* volunteer hours and 10 hours of continuing education (2nd year). Your initial commintment is for two years but we actively seek out individuals who will commit to remain active in the program beyond the initial two years of service. The yearly commitment to the program to remain a Master Food Presrver after the first two years is a re-certification test**. 50* volunteer hours and 10 hours of continuing education.

* All volunteer hours include driving time to and from events.  It is very easy to achieve the required hours to remain active in the program. **All exams and/or tests are open book.

Years of Service

Why do we ask you to stay in the program for an extended period of time?  Due to the nature of our training and class size restrictions we train a small volume of volunteers each year.  Our ranks grow slowly but surely with volunteers who truly have a passion not only for volunteering but for ongoing food preservation outreach to the community. As a member of the MFP program you will be able to enjoy the camaraderie of people who share common interests, you can also develop friendships, enjoy social opportunities, and continue enriching your life and those around you with the continuing educational updates/opportunities. We have an annual Recognition Reception with special awards and prizes to acknowledge the work that is done by our committed group of MFP volunteers.

History of the MFP Program

The Master Food Preserver Program (MFP) started in Washington State in 1976 in Seattle and Yakima Counties.  In the years following other counties in Washington, including Clark County started MFP programs. Master Food Preservers in Clark County have been helping others learn about safe food preservation methods for over 30 years. Due to the success of the MFP program in Washington the program has moved to many other states in the US and may also be known as a Master Food Volunteer, Food Safety Advisos or Master Food Educator.  Not all states have these volunteer organizations but many do with each program offering the basics of food safety and tailoring the program to the needs of their counties/states. Many counties in Washington dropped the program as food preserveration became less popular and currently in Washington there are active MFP programs only in Clark/Cowlitz Counties and Benton/Franklin Counties.  The popularity of preserving your own food is making a strong comeback with people wanting to preserve the bounty from their garden, farmers market, gleaning and other sources year round.  MFP programs are starting up again throughout the US including Alaska and Hawaii. In many of the counties that do not have MFP program volunteers; staff have been trained to be Food Safety and Preservation Information Specialists.  They have taken an intensive online course, attended a week long hands-on training at WSU, and attended update sessions over the past two years.  They are qualified to answer questions, help consumers enroll in the online Preserve the Taste of Summer course, and hold hands-on classes for those who have completed the online course

Master Food Preserver 2016 Application (PDF)
Application Deadline Date: To be announced

Registration Information Bring completed application into office or mail with $225 fee to: WSU Extension 1919 NE 78th Street Vancouver, WA 98665 Make checks out to: WSU

Orientation Sessions

WSU Extension Office/Heritage Farm (Main Conference Room) 1919 78th Street, Vancouver, WA 98665-8665

Class Schedule

  •Class 1    Food Safety & Nutrition    Friday     Sept 30    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 2    Dehydrating & Freezing    Friday     Oct 7    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 3    Canning Basics    Friday    Oct 14    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 4    Pickling    Friday     Oct 21    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 5    Jams & Jellies    Friday     Oct 28    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 6    Pressure Canning Friday    Nov 4    8:45 AM – 4:30 PM
  •Class 7    Potluck & Welcome Thursday     Nov 10    4:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Class Location: To Be Announced


For More information Contact:

Sandy Brown – or call 360-397-6060 ext 5700
Vicki Ivy – or call 360-397-6060 ext 5740

Or stop by:

Heritage Farm – WSU Extension Office,  1919 NE 78th Street, Vancouver, WA 98665


Upcoming Classes

“You Can!” Food Preservation Classes
May 20 – July 1, 2016 Fridays
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

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How to Preserve Game & Fish
Three Dates to Choose From!
June 22 – Wednesday
July 21-Thursday
August 23 – Tuesday
 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

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“You Can!” Food Preservation Classes
July 20 – August 31, 2016
 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM



Food Preservation Topics


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Contact Us

Sandy Brown
Food Safety & Nutrition

1919 NE 78th St Vancouver, WA 98665-9752
360-397-6060  Ext 5700

Clark County, 1919 NE 78th St, Vancouver, WA 98665, 360-397-6060, Contact Us
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