Grow with Us in 2016

January 1, 2016

We wish you all the ingredients for a happy New Year: good friends, good health, and good food!

Last year was a big one for the CUESA community. We introduced Market Match, a program that expands healthy food access for the families who need it most, at our farmers markets. We hosted four pop-up farmers markets at Mission Rock, providing new opportunities for farmers and food producers and bringing CUESA’s educational mission to new neighborhoods. And we nearly doubled the number of students served by our Foodwise Kids program, giving almost 2,000 Bay Area children a hands-on healthy food experience they will remember throughout their lives.

As we look back on 2015, we are grateful for you, our community of friends and allies who make this work possible. Here are some of the highlights from this momentous year.

We operated 154 Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets, creating a vital source of income for more than 115 family farmers and local food producers.
We introduced 12 new permanent vendors at the Ferry Plaza, offering a high-profile venue for emerging farmers and food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Additions include Baia Pasta, Batter Bakery, Blue Chair Fruit Company, The Farmer’s Wife, Four Barrel Coffee, Highwire Coffee, Llano Seco, Marla Bakery, Namu Noodle, New Family Farm, Old Dog Ranch, and Thistle Meats.
We brought in 12 pop-up vendors, including 9 businesses that participate in La Cocina’s incubator program, providing them an opportunity to talk with customers, build their brand, and trial new products.
We hosted 4 pop-up farmers markets at The Yard at Mission Rock, featuring Ferry Plaza veterans as well as 15 new-to-CUESA vendors, including many first-generation farmers and women-owned businesses.
At CUESA farmers markets, we introduced Market Match, a program that incentivizes the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables by doubling the spending power of CalFresh shoppers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
We offered 61 free seasonal cooking demos for more than 2,900 attendees, and hosted hands-on classes and tastings in knife skills, vegetarian cooking, cheese making, and other kitchen skills.
We attracted 17,381 goat fanatics to our seventh annual Goat Festival!
We introduced 1,938 elementary school students from 86 classes to new fruits and vegetables through our expanded Foodwise Kids field trip and cooking class program.
We partnered with Bay Leaf Kitchen to host two week-long summer farmers market cooking camps, culminating in an activity-filled overnight stay at a local farm. We provided full scholarships to 15 children who would not have been able to attend otherwise.
We served 197 students at four high schools through Schoolyard to Market, our youth gardening and entrepreneurship program. The students learned how to grow their own food, developed job skills, and set up booths at the Ferry Plaza on 10 Saturdays to sell their school garden produce, plant starts, bouquets, and honey.
More than 4,749 market visitors stopped by the CUESA Food Shed to learn about the drought, biodiversity, soil health, and food labels.
We hosted 6 talks and panel discussions on timely topics like “Growing New Farmers,” “The Rise of Women in Agriculture, “Food as Medicine,” and “Evolving City, Evolving Restaurants.”
Through our Market to Chef Program, we assisted more than 375 chefs representing 200 restaurants, caterers, and food businesses in sourcing local products from the farmers market.
We published more than 50 original e-letter articles for thousands of readers (like you!), profiling sustainable farmers and food producers and exploring important food issues.

We could not do any of this work without your support. We especially want to thank our community of 250 volunteers who donated 5,500 hours at our educational programs, farmers markets, and fundraising events. If you’d like to get involved and support this work, please join us at our new volunteer orientation on January 19 or give to CUESA today.

Looking forward to 2016, we deepen our resolve to keeping farming viable, growing the next generation of healthy eaters, and building community with you. Together, we can grow the healthy world we all want to see.

PICTURED ABOVE: Standing: Christine, Dexter, Carrie, Lulu, Cindy, Marcy, Andrea A., Mike, Calvin, Tommy, Kayla, George, Tessa. Kneeling: Andrea B., Teresita, Julie, Brie. Meet our team.

Photo by Amanda Lynn Photography.