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Master Food Preserver Volunteer Program

Updated February 02, 2023
Professional headshot of Claudia Botzet

Claudia Botzet

SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist

What is a Master Food Preserver Volunteer?

South Dakota State University Extension, Master Food Preserver graphic

Created with contributions by Megan Erickson, former SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist and Hope Kleine, Former SDSU Extension Health Education Field Specialist.

A Master Food Preserver is a volunteer who helps extend SDSU Extension’s food preservation educational workshops to individuals and communities across the state by teaching community classes, staffing displays at events and serving as a resource for food safety related questions.

A Master Food Preserver is a certification people can earn which designates they have undergone and passed training and coursework in modern, up-to-date methods of food preservation. These people are advanced canners, qualified to give advice and act as volunteers for safe home canning.

The Master Food Preserver program provides volunteers with extensive knowledge of safe home food preservation practices, research-tested recipes and up-to-date USDA food preservation regulations.

Program Requirements


The process to become a Master Food Preserver volunteer has four components:

  1. Complete online coursework related to general education, at your own pace.
  2. Complete online coursework related to food preservation education, at your own pace.
  3. Attend three evening virtual training sessions. The previously mentioned coursework is to be completed prior to attendance at this training.
  4. Display successful completion and demonstration of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of safe food preservation practices.

Training Topics

The Master Food Preserver volunteer course and training covers the food handling and preservation processes of:

  • General canning principles
  • Canning equipment
  • Acid foods
  • Acidified foods
  • Low acid foods
  • Freezing foods
  • Drying foods
  • Dehydrating Equipment

Master Food Preserver Volunteer Expectations

A young man and woman preparing an acid solution for canning in a blue pot.

Once an individual has successfully completed the course components, the Master Food Preserver is considered an intern until 40 hours of give back volunteer hours are completed. Once the hours are complete, the individual becomes a Certified Master Food Preserver Volunteer. To maintain certification, volunteers must log 20 hours of service and 10 hours of training every year. Training opportunities will be shared throughout the year.

If you enjoy preserving food, volunteering, and helping your community, the Master Food Preserver volunteer program may be for you! Perhaps you aren’t ready to volunteer quite yet but want to learn more about preserving food safely, the opportunity to go through the educational component of the Master Food Preserver program without the commitment to volunteer is an option, too!

Program Interest Form

If you are interested in participating in the Master Food Preserver program, please submit your information using the form below, and we will contact you with more information.

Related Topics

Canning, Freezing Food, Volunteer