With many hours of volunteer assistance, the OSU Extension Service has provided research-based information about safe food handling to thousands of Oregonians for 25 years. This has averted foodborne illness (and medical bills) and prevented the expense of food waste.
Food Safety/Preservation Program: A Master Food Preservers volunteer program was launched in 1980 to support the county Food Safety/Preservation Program. Master Food Preserver Volunteers are assisting OSU Extension efforts at emergency food sites (food pantries) and schools.
In 2010, 58 Master Food Preserver Volunteers contributed over 3,100 hours of time in Jackson and Josephine counties. They educated the public about safe food handling/preservation over the phone and at over 26 workshops and exhibits. Over 4,000 Oregonians were contacted through these direct methods. Over 50,000 contacts were made through television programs (including Scott’s Garden on Channel 12, The Real Dirt Program, and Healthy Living featured on Public Access Programming), and four articles about our classes in the Medford Mail Tribune.
Our volunteers work with the OSU Nutrition Education Program. They have helped to give food pantry demonstrations and on the use of emergency foods and healthy food choices. Over 16,000 contacts were made to adults and youth in food pantries, schools, and other SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) eligible locations.