Training for Master Food Volunteer Program!
Do you love food? Like to cook? Want to learn more about nutrition and wellness? Enjoy volunteering? Want to make a difference in your community? Combine your love for cooking, nutrition, physical activity and helping others by becoming a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteer (MFV)!
Purpose of Master Food Volunteers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62 percent of adult Virginians and 20 percent of our youth are overweight or obese and at risk of chronic disease. With obesity rates on the rise, it is imperative to promote and educate consumers to adopt healthy eating behaviors and make positive lifestyle changes. There are fewer than 40 full-time Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Extension Agents across Virginia, limiting the availability and effect of community programming. Master Food Volunteers (MFV) can help fill the critical need by expanding program delivery and educating more consumers; resulting in healthier communities!
What is a Master Food Volunteer?
A Virginia MFV is a volunteer educator who is trained to promote, inform and work with individuals, families and groups presenting programs on food, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Volunteers come from all walks of life, but share the same passion for continued learning, the love of food, nutrition, and health and an interest in helping others.
Master Food Volunteer Training
There is no prior educational requirement for those interested in becoming a Master Food Volunteer. You will receive a minimum of 30 hours of hands-on, research based training over 4 weeks. The training will cover topics such as basic nutrition, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low cost meal planning, cooking techniques, food safety, physical activity, healthy lifestyles and effective teaching techniques for working with diverse audiences. In addition, volunteers gain important job skill training such as: leadership, conflict management, public speaking, presentation skills and interpersonal communication.
After completing training, volunteers agree to provide 30 or more hours annually through education and outreach efforts that are focused on their talents. There is something for everyone! Opportunities for service include participating in health fairs, food demonstrations, cooking classes, farmers’ markets and grocery store displays, youth programs, judging fairs, in-school or after-school programs, assisting with education at food distribution sites, health ministries in your community, writing informative newspaper or newsletter articles and food preparation. You can also create your own program!
Accomplishments of the Program
There are currently 21 Master Food Volunteers who teach nutrition, food safety and food preparation skills in Chef Clubs in all 19 Middle Schools. They also assist with Living Well with Diabetes sessions, answer questions at farmers markets and health fairs and conduct canning classes.
Laura Smith & Corbin Eissler Honored as Master Food Volunteers of the Year
Congratulations to Laura Smith and Corbin Eissler have been Master Food Volunteers since May 2012. They completed the thirty-hour training and started volunteering right away. Master Food Volunteer training includes nutrition, food safety and food preparation education and hands-on practice doing food demonstrations and cooking with others. Trainees also learn about Virginia Cooperative Extension and reporting.
Laura Smith, a Registered Dietitian, has led Chef Clubs at Bull Run, Gainesville and Marsteller middle schools, helped with a PWC Wellness Program and planning curriculum for a community wellness program. She has volunteered with Cooking Matters at the Store and is also a volunteer at the Haymarket Regional Food Pantry.
Corbin Eissler is a retired M.D. and gourmet chef who adds medical expertise to the Living Well with Diabetes program held over five weeks in the spring and fall each year. The students always remark that he adds a huge amount of information to their knowledge about diabetes.
The Nutrition program of Virginia Cooperative Extension is proud of our twenty two Master Food Volunteers who help provide programming to the Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park communities.