A team of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents, led by a faculty member in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will address consumer questions on food safety and preservation while overseeing the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) on an interim basis.
Tracey Brigman, clinical assistant professor in the FACS department of foods and nutrition, will serve as interim coordinator of food safety and preservation through July 2022. A permanent hire for the Extension specialist in food safety and preservation position will begin in August 2022.
Brigman will be assisted by a team of FACS Extension agents including Christa Campbell in Elbert County, Cindee Sweda in Spalding County, Jackie Ogden in Chatham County and Suzanne Williams from Dougherty County.
“UGA is a national leader in food safety and food preservation, providing support for Extension food safety professionals, Extension agents and consumers through the NCHFP,” said Allisen Penn, FACS associate dean for Extension and outreach. “Dr. Brigman and her team will build on UGA’s reputation for providing quality, research-based responses for consumer questions and support best-practice educational programs for Georgia residents.”
Elizabeth Andress, a nationally known expert in food safety and home food preservation, established and directed the NCHFP until her retirement in December 2020.
“I’m excited to be taking on this role to continue what Elizabeth developed and kept going through the years,” Brigman said. “There’s no replacing her, but I have a good team around me with four Extension agents and, coupled with my knowledge and the resources Elizabeth established, we’ll continue to be a national presence to help those who are canning, freezing and storing.”
Those resources are always in great demand, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in canning and preserving foods, Brigman said.
“All the agents have been trained by Elizabeth and have a lot of the knowledge she has,” Brigman said. “They will be essential in helping answer questions, and it’s important for all of us to be able to provide that expert resource so consumers know they can reach out to us and get answers.”
Brigman is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a licensed dietitian who teaches courses in food service, quantity food production and human nutrition, among others.
With a doctorate in learning, leadership and organizational development, Brigman is a natural fit to head a team of agents, said Lynn Bailey, the Flatt Professor of Foods and Nutrition and head of the FACS Department of Foods and Nutrition.
“I’m pleased that Dr. Brigman will fill this important interim role,” Bailey said. “The work of the National Center for Home Food Preservation is as important as ever as we navigate the pandemic, and I know Dr. Brigman and the team of Extension experts will continue to provide timely evidence-based information to the public.”