2022 Extension Master Food Volunteers Graduate

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On March 14, 2022, the Extension Master Food Volunteer Program celebrated two new graduates of the program. Sherry Bedsole from Currituck County and April Valentine from Chowan County. Veronica Martin-Dowdy a 2020 pre-pandemic graduate presented the two new volunteers with their signature black aprons. These volunteers must complete 30 hours of training and 20 hours of shadowing to become an Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV).

The EMFV program, similar to the highly recognized Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer (EMGV) program, is designed to provide volunteers the opportunity to support Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agents with food-related programming. Volunteers with the EMFV program will receive a core curriculum of 30 hours of training and will then shadow the FCS agent for 20 hours during their first year.

The EMFV program is designed to support FCS agents in the delivery of food and nutrition programs by providing a formalized training and volunteer management system. By working with trained volunteers, FCS agents can expand the number of programs that they offer, thus increasing their community impacts through programs that teach healthy eating and cooking skills. N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Family and Consumer Science (FCS) agents traditionally serve families at risk of food insecurity and teach people how to cook nutritious meals at home through evidence-based programs. However, many FCS agents are now covering two counties, which presents challenges for their ability to expand programming that can improve community health outcomes.

The EMFV curriculum consists of ten modules:  Cooking Skills, Cooking Demonstrations, Food Safety, Nutrition, Food Systems, and Local Food, Teaching Strategies, Evidence-based Programming, Changing Health Behaviors, History of Extension/FCS, and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. The program provides a way for volunteers to deepen their engagement in their communities while supporting evidence-based Extension programs, such as Steps to Health, Faithful Families, Cook Smart Eat Smart, and Med Instead of Meds.

This year’s training was presented in a hybrid format with some classes online and some classes in person. Trainees could complete most of the content at home and in their own time rather than in

Left Sherry Bedsole
Middle Veronica-Martin Dowdy
Right April Valentine

a traditional classroom setting. This is a fun and hands-on volunteer opportunity, Chowan County has 5 trained volunteers currently. If you are interested in becoming an EMFV please contact Mary Morris in Chowan County at 252-482-6585 or email mary_morris@ncsu.edu.