Meet Our Team: Selina Knowles

June 7, 2022

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Tell us a bit about you and your history and role at Foodwise.  

While earning my BA in Sociology, I had a part-time position on a communications team at a different educational nonprofit in the Bay Area. After graduating last year, I was curious about where I could apply my communications skills toward interdisciplinary social change. From building relationships with the people who grow the food we eat to sharing home-cooked meals with loved ones, every step of our complex food system is social. At the end of 2021, I joined this wonderful team while it was still CUESA and preparing to rebrand as Foodwise. It was great to be able to dive into the organization’s history, intentions for rebranding, and vision for what Foodwise would mean and look like. Taking part in shaping the transition was fundamental to my understanding of and respect for Foodwise’s mission and vision, to share the joy and power of local foods and to be a community-rooted educational resource. I’m grateful and proud to be working alongside such a dedicated team while doing my best to share some of the stories of the farmers market and the connections that emerge over good food. 

What does your work look like in action? 

As Foodwise’s Communications Coordinator, I work closely with the Communications Director, Brie, and my main responsibilities revolve around getting the word out about the farmers markets, education programs, and events organized by Foodwise. This means taking photos and videos at the farmers market for social media, keeping information on the website current, writing articles, and creating our weekly e-letter. Be sure to follow Foodwise’s social media and subscribe to the weekly e-letter to stay in the know about what’s happening at the farmers market! 

What inspires or motivates you about your work? 

I feel most inspired when listening to farmers market sellers share their stories. During interviews, I’ve spoken with people about how they got started, either farming or cooking, and what values motivate them. Every time I’m able to have these conversations, I’m reminded that the farmers market community is composed of people who put their all into what they do, and I’m humbled to have a place in it. 

What’s something that you wish people understood better?

Through every bountiful harvest or climate-induced crop shortage, our community’s health is closely tied to the hard work of the farmer and farmworkers. I don’t think I can properly speak to how much labor and love go into growing and cooking the abundance of deliciousness you can reliably find at the farmers market. However, I can share that most farmers market sellers that I talk to express that, to them, a little gratitude for what they do can go a long way. I encourage farmers market shoppers to continue to express appreciation for local farmers and food makers. 

What do you do to recharge outside of work? 

I love doing all kinds of hands-on crafty things, like knitting, crocheting, painting, and puzzling. I also consider cooking to be somewhat of a craft, since it rewards creativity and experimentation. Creating something with my hands lets me focus on something enjoyable while still allowing mental space for reflection and rest. 

Do you have any favorite farmers market tips you can share? 

Shopping at the farmers market can be an enjoyable and affordable option for groceries! There are many ways to stretch your budget at the farmers market, including stocking up on versatile ingredients and cooking creatively to avoid food waste, that also benefit the planet and your tastebuds. If you use CalFresh or EBT benefits, you can also utilize the Market Match program to have your benefits matched up to $15 a day at Foodwise farmers markets. 

What does “foodwise” mean to you?

I love that Foodwise honors the knowledge and lessons each of us carry about food. To me, part of being foodwise is about trusting your gut, literally and figuratively. Some of the best chefs in my life are only able to share recipes in terms of approximate measurements, often based on sensory experiences – until it’s fragrant, until it looks more vibrant, until it tastes sweeter. I really value this emphasis on flexibility and acknowledging the subjectivity of taste and experience, foodwise and otherwise. 

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