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Master Food Preserver Program

What is the Master Food Preserver program?

The WSU Master Food Preserver (MFP) program is a volunteer outreach program designed to bring research-based information to the public. This program began in Washington State in 1976, as a pilot project in King and Yakima counties. For the first time ever, a group of volunteers were trained to assist the county Extension faculty in providing up-to-date information on food safety and preservation to the general public. The program was so successful that it is still in operation today and has been adopted by many other states.

What do MFP’s do?

At Washington State University the volunteers are considered a vital part of the delivery structure of WSU Extension outreach and education programs. Volunteers serve in partnership with the local Extension office, functioning as an unpaid employee of Washington State University.
Specifically, the Master Food Preserver volunteers:

  • Assist county and state Extension faculty by responding to food safety/preservation inquiries. There has been an increased interest in food safety/preservation in the past few years, and the extra help is critical to our success.
    Staff information booths and present demonstrations at local Farmer’s Markets, Benton-Franklin County Fair, CSA’s, local festivals and/or produce stands.
  • Teach classes or mentor new canners to help assure safety of foods processed at home.
  • Utilize personal connections and social media to provide information on safe food handling and preservation.
  • Partner with community groups, agencies, and organizations to promote safe food handling practices.

Who can be a MFP Volunteer?

Any Benton or Franklin county resident, eighteen years of age or older, is eligible for the program. The individual should have an interest in food safety/preservation and must have the time to commit to the 30+ hour training program and 50 hours of volunteer outreach education. Prior experience with food preservation is not necessary. We will teach you what you need to know.

How do you become a MFP Volunteer?

Complete the enclosed registration packet and before classes start, return it to the Benton County Extension office. Attend the program orientation session to make sure the program is right for you. At the completion of the orientation, if you choose to participate, pay the registration fee. Upon completion of the course, an open-book certification exam is given and those passing are considered a certified MFP volunteer for the coming program year.

What benefits do MFPs receive from the program?

MFP volunteers are provided training, plus a packet of resource materials. Class instruction is appropriate for people with differing educational backgrounds and food preservation experience. After training, volunteers continue to receive updates on the latest research in the area of food safety/preservation. Through their experiences, volunteers develop skills in working with people, public speaking, and building self-confidence in addition to increasing their expertise in food safety/preservation.

As a volunteer, how long am I committed to the program?

Your commitment is for 50 hours of volunteer outreach education. Of course, we hope MFP volunteers will find the program rewarding and fun and continue in the program after the first year. However, your commitment is complete after your 50 hours. If you want to remain active in the program, you will need to re-certify each year.

What are the dates for the training program?

Training sessions are held once a year, April through June. New volunteers must attend all of the training and laboratory sessions in order to be certified as a volunteer. Excessive tardiness will be considered an absence. A training schedule is available each year that outlines the training classes, lab dates and topics.

What is the non-volunteer option?

The non-volunteer option provides an opportunity for individuals to participate in the program who are not interested in serving as a volunteer or live outside the Benton-Franklin county area. Because the primary focus of the program is to train a team of volunteers to assist with program delivery, those registering as volunteers will be given priority. If there is space available, I will accept non-volunteer registrations. NOTE: THERE IS GENERALLY SPACE AVAILABLE!

If I am from a county outside Benton-Franklin, why can’t I volunteer in my own county?

The Master Food Preserver program is only available in Benton-Franklin Counties. Volunteers must have a supervising faculty in the county office. County support for supervision of safety/preservation outreach programs are not available in other county offices.

Is there an online option for the training?

The MFP program is an in-person training, involving classroom instruction and laboratory learning. There is no virtual or online learning option for this program.

How do I register?

Registration forms are available at through the WSU Benton County Extension office, 7102 W. Okanogan Pl., Ste. 102, Kennewick, WA 99336. For more information call Lizann Powers-Hammond, Extension Faculty at (509) 735-3551 or by email at:

Cougar Canning Volunteer logo with Cougar logo on canning jar

2024 Registrations are now closed.

2024 Registration Packet (pdf) 2024 Training Schedule only (pdf)


Program Contact:

Lizann Powers Hammond,
Food & Nutrition Specialist

7102 W. Okanogan Place, Suite 102,
Kennewick, WA 99336
Phone:  509-735-3551



Washington State University Extension logo


Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of non-compliance may be reported through your local Extension office. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation need to contact: Lizann Powers-Hammond, 7102 W. Okanogan Pl., Ste 102, Kennewick, WA 99336 (509) 735-3551 at least two weeks prior to the beginning of training.