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Master Food Volunteer Program Deadline Approaching

Mecklenburg County Extension

It’s a fresh, new year and the perfect time to launch a new volunteer initiative. That’s exactly what’s happening as Mecklenburg County implements its first Extension Master Food Volunteer Program.

That may be a mouthful but what it means is this: The program is recruiting volunteers. They will help provide “unbiased, research-based information on food systems, cooking, and food safety to our community.” The deadline to apply is January 20, 2017. 

Since this is the first year for the pilot program, only a limited number of volunteers will be selected. Each must be willing to undergo a background check and complete 30 hours of training on topics such as understanding dietary guidelines and basic cooking skills. It’s a great way to develop the proficiency and confidence to do demonstrations.

Upon completion of the training, Mecklenburg County volunteers will be expected to fulfill 20 hours of service within the first year. This could mean giving a farmer’s market tour or demo, working with a health ministry, presenting a program or cooking lesson to a group or school class, or writing a newsletter article.

Volunteers who complete both their training and services hours will be granted Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) Full Status. It’s an honor on par with the one that recognizes the state’s Master Gardeners.

Students who need service hours, educators, retirees, and citizens interested in learning more about farms, food systems, and cooking are encouraged to apply.

Interested? The first step is to watch a brief video that explains the program. Then, apply online to get the process started. (Since the first question is “Have you watched the video?” don’t skip it.) Volunteers who are accepted will pay a $25 training fee to help defray the cost of materials. Applicants unable to pay the fee may contact to local office for assistance. Volunteer selection is expected to take place in February, with training sessions beginning shortly after. The training schedule has not yet been set.

For more information, visit the Master Food Volunteer Program website, or contact Extension Agent Kristin Davis by email at Kristin_Davis@ncsu.edu.

Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.