Intern Spotlight: Jenny Ye, Jesus del Toro, and Kailyne Sarmiento

April 29, 2022

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 June 4, 2022, here.

This last week of April marks the tenth and final week for the spring Foodwise Teens session. Fifty-one students from John O’Connell High School, Mission High School, and The Academy – San Francisco @ McAteer participated in 10 weeks of paid after school trainings and work days, where they built skills to sustain healthy lives and a healthy planet. Most of them cooked at and helped with market operations for two Saturdays at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Jenny Ye and Jesus “Chuy” del Toro joined returning intern Kailyne Sarmiento to support this semester’s cohort of Foodwise Teens.

“Our Foodwise Teens interns Jenny, Chuy, and Kai have brought their whole selves to their work with the teens and are foundational to a successful Foodwise Teens program,” says Foodwise Teens Education Manager amy huỳnh. “It has been an honor and joy to watch their growth as youth facilitators and wonderful to learn alongside and from. Thank you!” Meet Jenny, Chuy, and Kai.

Foodwise: Where does your interest in food come from?

Jenny: I have always loved food!! Food is such a central part of my life, since my family gatherings all surround food: making food together, then sitting down and talking and laughing with everyone about their day.

Chuy: My interest in food comes from an intimate connection via hunting and farming throughout my life.

Foodwise: What do you do when you aren’t interning for Foodwise? And how is the pandemic impacting you?

Jenny: I’m still a student, so I spend most of my days just studying in various cafes around campus! I also love going on walks or hikes to explore the surrounding areas, because I’m not from the Bay Area. The pandemic has definitely limited my ability to branch out as much as I’d like to, but I feel like things are opening back up, so I’m very happy about that.

Chuy: When not interning, I’m attending to my graduate studies where my degree in International Studies focuses on Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice. I’m developing a thesis on Malagasy farmer livelihoods around vanilla.

Foodwise: Why are you choosing to intern with us at this time?

Jenny: I chose to intern with Foodwise this semester because I really wanted more experience and time interacting with students as a facilitator. I have been working as a teaching assistant in various places around the Bay Area, but I felt like I didn’t get enough time with the students each week. I also really wanted the experience of working in a farmers market! I love the atmosphere in farmers markets, but I don’t typically have the time to sit down and really explore the stalls or talk to vendors. This internship has definitely let me explore the market much more.

Chuy: Gaining experience in a field that I wouldn’t mind having a career path in.

Foodwise: What does Foodwise mean to you?

Jenny: Foodwise means becoming more aware of the process of food to me. Many people don’t think about how food gets from farm to table, and the nuances that come with it. I feel like learning more about the intricacies of the process is so valuable, and there are so many things to learn as well!

Chuy: To me, Foodwise means connection.  A connection to your personal well-being, the well-being of the land, and of those who allow us to feed and maintain our bodies.

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

Jenny: Not really a favorite food or a meal prep tip, but more like a market tip: talk to vendors!!! Everyone at the market has their own story to tell or knowledge to share, and you can really learn a lot just walking around and starting a conversation!!

Chuy: Favorite farmers market foods are the chilaquiles found at Primavera on Saturdays, and the seasonal fruit. I was happy to see loquat being sold recently.

Returning Foodwise Teen intern Kailyne shared these reflections:

Being a Foodwise Teens program coordinator for two semesters has allowed me to build community with different people locally in San Francisco/Bay Area. I found myself in a network of youth, farmers, and workers in different environments at the farmers markets, garden, farm, and classroom. It has strengthened my passion for community, local foods, and education (shout out to the Mission High Foodwise Teens)! This experience has taken my food journey to a new level by pushing me to think deeper about the food system, and how I participate in it. I feel that my relationship to food has grown to be more intentional. Food is medicine!

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