Intern Spotlight: Julia Weber 

August 24, 2023

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. 

Foodwise volunteer Julia Weber deepened her commitment to youth education this summer by interning with Foodwise Teens. She started the year occasionally supporting Foodwise Kids at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and a Family Cook Night “to better enter the food education scene here in the Bay Area and get a sense for the incredible work Foodwise does firsthand.” Volunteering was “a great opportunity to make connections and further clarify a career pathway.” She adds, “Little did I know I’d actually love working with the kiddos and getting them excited about food and market efforts. From there I knew I had to get more involved and hopefully continue working in this space, so I entered the Foodwise Teens summer internship. It [was] such a lovely addition to my week!” 

“Julia was a pleasure to work with during the summer Foodwise Teens program,” says Foodwise Teens Manager Jasmine Chastine. “She had a deep understanding of fermentation and garden planning which fit perfectly into the lesson plan. We had a lot of fun testing different versions of a sourdough starter and learning the importance of a healthy microbiome thanks to her knowledge. Julia has volunteered with the Foodwise Kids program and cooking demonstrations so she is familiar with our team and our mission, which is refreshing. I appreciate her dedication to teaching youth and the curious spirit she brings to each class!” Meet Julia.  

Foodwise: Where does your food interest come from?  

Julia: Oh, where to begin! I grew up marveling at my Sitti (“grandmother” in Arabic) whip up classic Lebanese dishes with a Southern twist and knew from an early age how important food heritage is. From there on out, I continued my mother’s horticultural roots into an array of agricultural studies and work opportunities, often seeking out regenerative and medicinal qualities edible plants can and should encompass.  

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

Julia: Currently, I’m exploring career pathways within the farm-to-table world, hoping to extend out of the labor-intensive side of this industry into educational programming. For now, you can find me working in the restaurant scene, practicing Spanish with the exuberant Chilean community here and dancing at my favorite local Oakland studio. Here and there, you might also catch me hosting backyard dinner/garden parties. Most recently, I held a crawfish boil to honor and showcase my Southern roots! 

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

Julia: I was beyond thrilled when I learned about the internship opportunity with Foodwise Teens! The timing was perfect as I continue to investigate career opportunities in addition to this season being my absolute favorite time to garden as the crops are plentiful and colorful. I was very grateful to hold this space and time with the teens and [Foodwise educators] Jasmine and Naomi. 

Foodwise: What has been most rewarding about your experience with Foodwise Teens? 

Julia:  I’ve really enjoyed seeing the teens get more and more comfortable with the work and concepts we’ve been covering, even over a short amount of time. I’m sure at times I came off very “Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus” when it comes to gardening and soil/gut microbes, but I’m hoping my enthusiasm for this field will rub off of them! Occasionally, I would see little glimmers here and there, which was extremely rewarding to witness. 

Foodwise: What does Foodwise mean to you?  

Julia: Foodwise is such a special and essential portal into the food and farming scene here. I remember being awestruck by the operation Foodwise and their vendors pull off on a weekly basis at the Ferry Plaza. Now that I know firsthand what the organization also does in youth education throughout both my internship and volunteering experiences, I want to continue to work with Foodwise in any capacity that I can! 

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

Julia: For my fellow dessert-lovers, here’s an ever-so slightly healthier sweet to be HAD: Grab some dates, pit them, fill them with some peanut butter, drizzle melted dark chocolate over the top, sea salt at the end and place in the fridge. They’ll rock your socks off.