Today Lizann Powers-Hammond and I continue our discussion about the Master Food Preserver Program. Lizann is the Regional Specialist for Washington State University Benton County Extension. She has been teaching the Master Food Preserver Program for 23 years and has been instrumental in continuing to update the curriculum to current standards. See our previous discussion here.
Where is the program being offered this year?
LPH: This year the Master Food Preserver will only be available in two locations here in Washington; Benton County and Clark County.
Why so few areas?
LPH: Many counties no longer have the resources as Regional Specialists retire and their positions are lost. And in many locations, interest in the program diminished over time. Now though we are seeing increased interest again all over the country. We’ve never seen a loss of interest here in Benton County.
The program has remained popular here, but what has changed locally?
LPH: How we do outreach. Trained Master Food Preservers used to man a hotline to answer questions and we no longer do that. Now we do a lot more face to face interaction and education. Some Master Food Preservers have personal blogs or educate using Facebook and other technology. Some teach classes or mentor groups who get together and request assistance. Of course we still have a booth at the local Farmer’s Markets to answer food preserving questions, and we still take part in judging at the fair.
When will the program be offered this year?
LPH: The Master Food Preserver Program will start April 16th and run through June 13th. We will meet Tuesday and some Thursday mornings and participants must be present at each class. The cost is $50 plus 50 hours of volunteer time, or $350 with no volunteer commitment if there is available space.
How can interested parties sign up ?
LPH: People can call the Extension office at 509-735-3351 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
LPH: The Master Food Preserver Program is a fun program. It’s serious work – but helping people learn how to preserve and handle food in a different way is fun. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Foodies are a fun group!