Meet Our Team: Jasmine Chastine
January 4, 2023
Meet one of the newest members of our team, Jasmine Chastine, who joined us in fall 2022 as the Education Manager for Foodwise Teens, a paid job training program where teens build skills to sustain healthy lives and a healthy planet.
Tell us a bit about you, your background, and your role at Foodwise.
I was born and raised in Upstate New York and moved to NYC to study Fashion Business Management. After working in the fashion industry for a few years, I decided to explore other fields and fell into environmental education with youth. Originally, it was supposed to be a part-time gig, but I loved it! Working with youth was so rewarding and I wanted to combine that with my passion for food. I took a risk and moved from New York to San Francisco within 30 days to join Foodwise! Joining the Foodwise team has been a perfect blend for me to work with youth, learn about the local food community, and utilize my gardening skills. As education manager for Foodwise Teens, I get the opportunity to aid in the growth of the next generation of informed consumers.
What does your work at Foodwise look like in action?
This role is extremely dynamic and active. I am at our partner SFUSD high school sites working with students three times a week, either working in the garden, going on a farm field trip, leading a market tour, cooking, or discussing dismantling the current food system. We host up to 45 students per semester all with varying relationships with food and the current food system. The goal of the program is to plant the seed of sustainable and thoughtful food decisions in the teens, encouraging them to participate in the local food system. The program runs for 10 weeks and enables job opportunities within the community.
What inspires or motivates you about your work?
It is inspiring to think about Foodwise Teens as they grow up to become adults—how this program can really influence their day-to-day habits or even their choice of major in college. No one can ever know the true influence, but as someone who went through a program similar to this as a teen, it really does make a difference. The program was so impactful for me, and it changed my perspective on the food industry. The instructor incorporated films and pushed discussions surrounding the meat industry, GMOs, and environmentalism. She was the first vegan I had ever met and she lived completely off of the local food system. Fifteen years later, here I am implementing those same values to the youth in my community. Coincidence?
What’s something that you wish people understood better about working with youth and food?
Teens are just as passionate about and interested in learning about food as adults are. Unfortunately, many of them don’t have a choice in what they eat on a daily basis, and even fewer have discretionary income to explore their palate. That is why the Foodwise Teens program is so important because it provides a stipend and an avenue for teens to be exposed to the farmers market, local farms, and unique cuisine, giving them true autonomy.
What do you do to recharge outside of work?
I try my best to keep my body moving by playing tennis or doing group workout classes. I love a good tennis session followed by time in the sauna decompressing. Also, I have an affinity for art, so visiting museums and galleries is something I can spend hours doing alone. I love watching sports as well. Hanging out with friends to watch a game gives me that social recharge needed to start a work week!
Do you have any favorite farmers market tips you can share?
The sooner you get your Proyecto Diaz Coffee, the better your market shopping will be! Also ask the farmers what fruits/veggies will be coming in, so you can plan ahead a bit. There is nothing more heartbreaking than knowing you missed pomegranate season!
What does “food wisdom” mean to you?
Food wisdom is the act of taking control of what you put in your body. It’s understanding more about the system of food and actively supporting local farmers and vendors. There isn’t an end to this journey, just growth.