Food for Thought: Become a Master Food Volunteer

By Nancy Schuster
Frontier Extension District Agent

It was a warm summer day this last summer at the Ottawa Farmer’s Market. An Extension volunteer purchased vegetables that were being sold by local vendors. She rinsed the vegetables and began to cut and chop. Several individuals wondered over to her table to find out what she was doing. The Extension volunteer was Kris Wallace, Master Food Volunteer, from Franklin County. Kris used raw yellow squash, green squash, tomatoes, corn off the cob, a few onions, green peppers, carrots, and cucumbers in her salad. She then made vinaigrette with wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and a bit of salt. Kris put the ingredients in a pint jar, sealed the lid, and shook until the ingredients were blended. Recipes were available so those wanting to make the vinaigrette could do so at home. A quick, easy to make, colorful, tasty fresh vegetable salad!

foodforthoughtThe next week I visited the Ottawa Farmer’s Market with a display. One of the vendors came over to my table and said her husband loved Kris’ salad! She also shared her husband was a picky fresh vegetable salad eater!

What I have shared with you is an actual sample of what K-State Research & Extension Master Food Volunteers do. Do you like people and food? Do you like to share your love of food with others in your family? It might be that you are ready to become a Master Food Volunteer! Frontier Extension District currently has no Master Food Volunteers in Osage County; Franklin County has five Master Food Volunteers; and Anderson County has 2 active and 1 volunteer who went back to work.

If you are a K-State Research & Extension program supporter or just like to share your knowledge with others, this might be a good fit for you. An Extension agent can only do one program at a time; Master Food Volunteers can make many other contacts of county residents’. It is a great extender of the Extension mission: Knowledge for Life.

If you are concerned that you do not have the skills for being a Master Food Volunteer, keep in mind that there are 40 hours of required training. Master Food Volunteers can work together in teams or work with Extension agents; volunteers are never pushed into a situation where they are not comfortable.

I relearned my skills with Master Food Volunteers Joan Rockers and Marjorie Stephens. They sharpened up my yeast bread skills, and developed my biscuit-making and egg noodle skills! At every foods program, I learn something new from the audience. Everyone has a skill to share, so start thinking Master Food Volunteer! Joan has repeatedly shared with others how much fun she has had as a Master Food Volunteer.

There are 8 training sessions required of a Master Food Volunteer. Dates for the 2016 Master Food Volunteer training are: Feb. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, and March 9, and 10; with snow dates of March 16 and 17. Two classes are held each week for four weeks, so volunteers can be involved in activities in their own communities. Cost for the program is $75. The can seem like a lot however it averages out to under $10 per class and pays for the food and supplies used by volunteers throughout the training. I am not real sure you can find cooking classes in the larger towns of Kansas for under $10 a session.

Classes are held in Johnson County at the K-State Olathe campus. An Extension district vehicle will be going to many of the classes; I would love to have volunteers ride with me to the K-State Olathe campus.

Registration forms to be a Master Food Volunteer are available at the Frontier Extension District’s Web page,

For more information on becoming a Master Food Volunteer, call the Frontier Extension District’s Garnett office at 785-448-6826, or email [email protected]. I’d love to have some Master Food Volunteers in Osage County, and more in Anderson and Franklin counties.

schustersmNancy Schuster is a Frontier Extension District family and consumer science agent whose responsibilities include providing information about food safety, nutrition, food science and food preparation. She is based in the Garnett office of the Frontier Extension District and can be reached at 785-448-6826 or email [email protected].

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