Intern Spotlight: Case van der Burg, Julia Montano, and Nadia Fox

June 30, 2023

Case, Julia, and Nadia hold vegetables at the farmers market

Foodwise relies on volunteers and interns to help with education programs, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to grow thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn more about internships here and volunteer opportunities here. You can also sign up for our next volunteer orientation on September 6, 2023, here.

Three passionate University of San Francisco students – Case van der Burg, Julia Montano, and Nadia Fox – interned in spring 2023 session as crucial team members of our Foodwise Kids team. “Case, Julia, and Nadia were amazing interns who spent their whole semester teaching SFUSD youth about the joys of food and the importance of the farmers market,” says Foodwise Kids & Families Coordinator Damaris Bonner. “From bringing the kids around the market to sample yummy produce to then sitting down with their families and cooking a delicious meal for Family Cook Night, these three were the backbone for Foodwise Kids.”

“Nadia quickly was able to lead the class through mini lessons, teaching our students about fresh, local seasonal produce. Her natural teaching abilities and enthusiasm was contagious,” Foodwise Kids & Families Manager Nesley Rojo adds. “Case was a team player, always ready to help. He supported our team’s needs whether that meant making last minute produce runs, taking on a large group of students or helping out with dishes. Julia’s patience and kindness with our students and farmers made the field trip memorable for everyone. We are so happy to have her continued support this summer after a spectacular spring together!” Meet Case, Julia and Nadia.

Foodwise: Where does your food interest come from? 

Case: My interest in cooking really picked up in 2020, when the pandemic began. With so much more free time on my hands, I sifted through my mom’s stack of 200 saved newspaper clippings and article printouts and made cooking my COVID hobby to pass the time. Mixing and matching different side dishes for my family was a great evening activity and is what kick started my desire for meal prepping. I got interested in nutrition science not long after. I made the connection between the food I put into my body and the way I feel as a result, and I realized that processed foods and sugary desserts are not what’s right for me. Since 2021, I love that I’m more aware of healthy fats, vegetarian protein options, and homemade meals.

Julia: My interest in food is from my family and experiences from travel; food is such a powerful and special binder of a community. Whether it is a recipe for a meal that has been passed down from my grandma or a new dish that has been introduced to me, there is something so special about sitting down and sharing a meal with someone. I think that there are so many ways that our relationship with food has been altered, so being able to work in a farmers market and meet the people who are producing our food has been so amazing! I also think that beyond food being so important to our communities, it is also important for our planet.

Nadia: My interest in food came from my dad who has always cooked my family meals ever since I can remember. His favorite place to be is the kitchen and he has taught me to use cooking as a stress-reducer. My favorite meal that he makes for our family is Marcella Hazan’s pasta e fagioli, an Italian soup that includes beef broth, beans, noodles, celery, carrot, tomato and pork.

Foodwise: What do you do when you aren’t interning for Foodwise?

Case: An afternoon jog through the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park always brings me joy. Techno thrillers and sci-fi novels are a great way to unwind as well. I love to play with animals and recently got a tattoo of my favorite kitty ever, Greggy. The pandemic really impacted my desire to socialize, and by 2021 I was ready for a change. My grad school program began, and I was in a new city with exciting new communities and areas to explore. Lately, I’ve been cherishing a place called The Center SF, which is a tea and yoga event space that hosts dance workshops. I ecstatic dance there and at the Church of 8 Wheels practically every weekend! I can always truly resonate with the people there and I love the sense of community.

Julia: I am going to be a senior at USF this upcoming school year! I study international studies and environmental studies. I love going to concerts and all things music. Additionally, one of my favorite ways to explore San Francisco is through trying new restaurants and cafes. I love to cook and spend time outdoors.

Nadia: When I am not interning for Foodwise Kids you can find me somewhere in nature or sightseeing through San Francisco. I love to go on walks through Golden Gate Park or explore new neighborhoods. Additionally, I love listening to music and exploring new genres and types of music. I mostly always have headphones in and Spotify playing on my phone!

Foodwise: Why did you choose to intern with us at this time? 

Case: I wanted to understand the thinking involved in developing the lessons and information about nutrition that an organization is trying to provide for children. If I was in elementary school and went to Foodwise on a field trip, it could’ve changed the whole trajectory of my life and gotten me into nutrition science at a much younger age. Ultimately, I think Foodwise Kids is providing a great opportunity for kids to fully acknowledge how great-tasting produce can be when it’s fresh, local and prepared with love, care and community.

Julia: I have enjoyed learning about farmers markets, especially from an organization who upholds the values of food justice. Additionally, I think I have found a sense of community from this experience. It is so fun working with the students and getting the experience to discover the farmers market with them! Especially in a place like the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it also feels like a place where you can visually see how food is bringing together a community which is something I have really valued since I am not originally from San Francisco.

Nadia: I chose to intern for Foodwise Kids because I am very passionate about food! I love to cook at home as I like to make my favorite kind of pastas, soups, and salads, but also like to be adventurous and switch it up and try new recipes. Additionally, I love to go out to new restaurants and experience new cultures and cuisines. While I enjoy eating the many kinds of food out there, I also believe in food justice and sovereignty. I believe food is not something that needs to be “earned” but is a necessity for everyone, regardless of economic status. Foodwise Kids stood out to me because their mission and goals align with food equity and justice. They also support children’s engagement with food through many fun and educational activities that teach children about sustainability, agriculture, farming, and more.

Foodwise: What does Foodwise mean to you? 

Case: Foodwise emboldens new lifestyles that will have people feeling and looking their best, and provides the right learning activities and insights at a young enough age to avoid years or decades of someone not having the knowledge or motivation to prepare and cook meals for themselves, and clean up after. I like to think that I’m driving a social movement in which the next generation is able to realize that vegetables don’t have to be the forgettable greens or mush that stay on their plate until the very end, when they need to force it down in order to have dessert. When fresh fruits and vegetables are seasoned and prepared with love, they can easily be the highlight of any dish, and provide your brain and body with all the nutrients they’re absolutely craving. In the long run, this lifestyle will have people accomplishing the most that they’re capable of, and I think everyone in society deserves no less!!!

Julia: Foodwise is not only about good food, but it is about making sure that it accessible to everyone. It is about celebrating the individuals who produce our food and bring it to us and the communal act of eating and sharing it with others. I think there is a certain power and joy that comes from eating local and caring for our planet and communities.

Nadia: Foodwise means community as it has helped me make closer connections with local farmers, teachers, students, and other Foodwise staff. It is vital to have these connections with the people around you in order to create social change and make the world a better place.

A group of Foodwise Kids gathered around a table

Foodwise: Any favorite farmers market foods or home meal prep tips you want to share? 

Case: My favorite foods to meal prep are black bean hummus, kimchi scrambles, lentil soup, burritos and trail mix. Protein smoothies, roasted carrots, green grapes, and dark chocolate are great snacks that provide sustained energy throughout your busy day. If you’re trying to kick a DoorDash habit, commit to a week or two of finding new recipes, and experiment with new ingredients. Take a few hours to go ham in the kitchen. Before you know it, your fridge will be stuffed with wonderful meals!

Julia: I think my favorite veggie since my internship with Foodwise is kale! I love making kale chips in the oven, and I recently tried creamed kale which was so tasty! It is so versatile and good in any form. I also love Cara Cara oranges and gold nugget mandarins, I cannot recommend these enough!

Nadia:  I definitely recommend meal planning and preparing your fruits and vegetables so that they last longer in the fridge. For example, certain herbs like parsley and cilantro can be stored in a mason jar filled with water so that the herbs can last longer. I recommend researching any tips on how to store your produce of choice before putting it away. 

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