Master Food Volunteer Program

Master Food Volunteer Program

Combine your love of cooking, nutrition, physical activity, and helping others by becoming a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Food Volunteer.

The Master Food Volunteer Program helps Extension reach more Virginians with up-to-date, research-based knowledge on food preparation, nutrition, food safety, and physical activity.

Master Food Volunteer Program logo

Anyone who has an interest in food preparation, nutrition, food safety, or physical activity can apply.  Applicants should possess a desire to enhance their skills and knowledge and enjoy working with people.  There is no prior educational requirement for those interested in becoming a Master Food Volunteer.

Volunteers help support Extension’s family and consumer sciences agents through education and outreach efforts. There is something for everyone!

  • Health fairs
  • Food demonstrations
  • Women, Infants, and Children’s Program (WIC)
  • Farmers market displays
  • Grocery store displays
  • 4-H youth programs
  • Judge at fairs
  • Newspaper or newsletter articles on healthy eating, physical activity, and food preparation
  • In-school and after-school programs
  • Assist with education at food distribution sites
  • Health ministries in your community
  • Cooking classes
  • Apply for and complete the mandatory 30-hour Master Food Volunteer training course.
  • To help support program costs and materials, a fee is required to participate in the training. 
  • Identify volunteer opportunities that suit your skills and interests.
  • Reciprocate with 30 hours of service within one year of training.

Beginning in year two of the Master Food Volunteer Program, volunteers are required to complete at least five hours of continuing education annually.

To assist with meeting these continuing education requirements, online training modules are now available through Virginia Tech’s Scholar Course Management System. Completion of each module equals one hour of continuing education (unless otherwise noted). The modules consist of a recorded presentation, quiz, and downloadable certificate that can be presented to the supervising family and consumer sciences agent, and each module can only be counted once. Instructions for completing the modules are included on the Scholar site main page and within each training module.


Registration is required to access the Master Food Volunteer Continuing Education Series site on Scholar, Virginia Tech’s course management system.

Click on the link below to begin the registration process. Once the course manager has processed your request, you will receive a guest login ID to access Scholar. Processing requests may take up to 48 hours.

MFV Continuing Education Series Registration
Scholar Guest Log-in

Guest Login to Scholar

Once you receive your guest login ID to access Scholar:

  1. Go to
  2. Select the Guest Login link at the top right to log in with your guest ID
Screenshot for the guest login on Scholar
  • Once you have logged in, select the MFV Continuing Education Tab
Screenshot of the continuing education tab on Scholar.

Training Modules

1. Prebiotics by Monica Ponder, Department of Food Science and Technology This module will provide an introduction to the concept of gut microbiota and its stimulation by prebiotics, different types of prebiotics used commercially, and their effectiveness.
2. Probiotics by Monica Ponder, Department of Food Science and Technology This module will focus on some of the health claims being made about the use of commercially used probiotics and their effectiveness.
3. Food Safety by Renee Boyer, Department of Food Science and Technology This module will cover the basics of food safety and food safety practices when conducting food demonstrations.  This module is considered a "refresher" of the food safety topics covered during volunteer training.
4.  Fatty Acids by Sean O'Keefe, Department of Food Science and Technology This presentation will cover the composition or fatty acids, what essential fatty acids are, what trans fatty acids are, and also DHA, which we see in a lot of food products in the last couple of years.
5. Foods, Dietary Supplements, and Drugs by Andrew Neilson, Department of Food Science and Technology This module will cover general information on dietary supplements and compare the differences between foods, dietary supplements, and drugs.
6. Functional Foods by Susan Duncan, Department of Food Science and Technology This module provides an introduction to function foods and identifies the potential health or physiological benefits associated with foods.

Contact Information

Please direct comments or questions about this training to: 

Melissa Chase, Ph.D.
Consumer Food Safety Program Manager
Dept. of Food Science and Technology
Virginia Tech

To inquire about the availability of this program in your area of residence in Virginia, please visit our survey.

In 2014, Melissa Chase, the state coordinator for the Master Food Volunteer Program, visited with Master Food Volunteers around the state to learn more about their experiences as they serve their communities through this program. These Master Food Volunteers will share more in the following videos about how they first became involved in the program; how their volunteering has affected the people they reach; the types of programs they are involved; and how the program has affected them as a volunteer.

For Volunteers

Master Food Volunteers should look at professional development opportunities (see professional development tab).

Training Videos

For food and kitchen safety and cooking techniques, check out our video series.

Master Food Program Volunteer Management System


Melissa W. Chase

Contact State Coordinator Melissa Chase to inquire about the availability of the Master Food Volunteer Program. For additional information, please visit our survey.