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Extension Master Food Volunteer Program

Overview: Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) Program for North Carolina

Thank you for your interest in the Extension Master Food Volunteer program! This program is currently in the pilot phase and will not be available for agents to sign up until the Fall of 2017. This page provides program details. If you have any questions, please contact Dara Bloom, dara_bloom@ncsu.edu. Thank you!

What is the Extension Master Food Volunteer Program?

Agents in the pilot program participating in a four day training, May 2016.

Interest in food, cooking, and local food is at an all-time high. The Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program is designed to engage residents in food and nutrition programming in their community and train volunteers to further expand the reach of N.C. Cooperative Extension. The EMFV program will allow FCS agents to train volunteers to support their food and nutrition programming and promote local food, thereby building their capacity to deliver high quality, evidence-based interventions.

What types of activities will volunteers support?

In the Spring of 2015, fifty-nine agents responded to a needs assessment survey about the EMFV program. They reported the following top activities in need of volunteer support:

  • Educational displays at health fairs and community events (91%)
  • Farmers’ market cooking demonstrations and nutrition displays (80%)
  • Integrating nutrition education and outreach with community and school gardens (78%)
  • Community cooking classes (76%)
  • Judging foods at County and State Fairs (69%)
  • Support for 4-H/youth leaders (56%)
  • Giving public presentations about the food system and local foods (52%)
  • Assistance with education at food distribution sites (52%)
  • Promoting the NC 10% Campaign (50%)
  • Assistance with writing newspaper or newsletter articles on healthy eating, etc (46%)
  • Using the NC 10% Campaign as an outreach tool (44%)
  • Conducting Farmers’ Market Tours (44%)

EMFV Volunteers in Person County conducting a taste testing.

What are some of the logistics of the EMFV program?

Volunteers in Brunswick County completing a food system activity as part of their training.

Volunteers will be expected to attend thirty hours of core training, with an additional ten hours of training for elective program support and yearly continuing education. Trainings will include a mixture of on-line and face-to-face formats, and some modules will overlap with the Master Family and Consumer Science Volunteer training. After initial training, volunteers will shadow agents for one year (30 hours), assisting with classes and other activities. After the first year, volunteers will be able to perform some tasks independently, depending on their capacity (please note, due to liability concerns, volunteers will not be allowed to conduct food preservation demonstrations or classes independently). Volunteers will always require some level of agent supervision. Agents will be provided training in the EMFV Curriculum, as well as in areas of volunteer recruitment and management. A web-based tool will be used to manage a volunteer calendar and allow volunteers to report their own hours (based on the Extension Master Gardener system).

Who is the EMFV program for?

This program is ideal for volunteers who are interested in formalizing and deepening their training and involvement with Cooperative Extension. This includes the existing volunteer base of the Extension and Community Association (ECA), Master Gardeners, 4-H leaders, and Circles of 10 volunteers with the NC 10% Campaign. In addition, we hope to engage new stakeholder groups, including individuals who are passionate about food, cooking, and local food, as well as community members who participate in Cooperative Extension programs (such as SNAP-Ed, EFNEP, or Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More).

What topic areas will the EMFV Program cover?

Core Curriculum (30 hours):

• Basic Nutrition • Risk Management • Food Safety and Preservation
• Cooking Demonstrations • Teaching Strategies • Food Systems and Local Food
• Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity • History of Extension and FCS • Evidence-based Programming

Elective Curriculum (10 hours; Under Development): Continuing education modules will be created to support FCS agents’ work with: farmers’ markets; community/school gardens; food preservation; Faithful Families; food pantries; food waste; school wellness; SNAP-Ed and EFNEP; among others.

Piloting the EMFV Program

We are currently piloting the EMFV Program with seven agents representing eleven counties. Agents received training in May, 2016, and are currently training and engaging volunteers. We plan to pilot the program for one year, evaluating it and making adjustments in the summer of 2017. The EMFV Program will be available for all agents in the winter of 2017/ spring of 2018.

Planning Committee

Dara Bloom (Local Food Specialist); Zandra Alford (Extension Associate); Geri Bushel (ECA Liaison); Lucy Bradley and Lisa Sanderson (Master Gardeners); Ben Chapman (Food Safety Specialist); Kristin Davis (FCS Agent and Local Food Coordinator); Liz Driscoll (4-H Specialist); Carolyn Dunn (Nutrition Specialist); Harriett Edwards (Volunteerism Specialist); Annie Hardison-Moody (Faithful Families); Gretchen Hofing (SNAP-Ed); Joanna Lelekacs (NCCE Local Food Flagship Program Manager); Katrina Levine (Extension Associate); Morgan McKnight (FCS Agent); Robyn Stout (NC 10% Campaign); Deborah Stroud (FCS Agent); Tessa Thraves (Food Corps)

Further Information

For further information, please contact Dara Bloom: dara_bloom@ncsu.edu.

Written By

Photo of Dara BloomDara BloomExtension Local Foods Specialist & Assistant Professor (919) 515-8475 dara_bloom@ncsu.eduAgricultural and Human Sciences - NC State University
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