Press Release: CUESA Changes Its Name to Foodwise

March 14, 2022

CUESA Changes Its Name to Foodwise to Reflect Deepened Commitment to Equity, Food Access, and Education

29-Year Old Nonprofit Dedicated to Farmers Markets and Education Will Unveil Changes at Community Celebrations on March 17 and 19

SAN FRANCISCO (March 14, 2022) — Today CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), the educational nonprofit known for the popular Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Mission Community Market in San Francisco, announced that it is changing its name to Foodwise. The name reflects a deeper shift in the organization to center equity and education in its mission to grow thriving communities through the power and joy of local food.

Since 1994, CUESA has operated world-class farmers markets and education programs to connect eaters of all ages with fresh, local food and sustainable family farms. Its farmers markets serve thousands of Bay Area residents with fresh, local food, and provide an economic engine for more than 130 small farms and food businesses. Its education programs share practical kitchen skills while deepening urban residents’ knowledge of agriculture and food system issues. Now as Foodwise, the organization is building on those strengths by deepening their commitment to equity and expanding food access and education programs. 

“We cannot have a sustainable food system without an explicit commitment to equity, one that prioritizes the experiences and empowerment of groups long marginalized in the good food movement but who are vital to how we grow, make, and eat food: specifically immigrants, women, and people of color,” says Foodwise’s Executive Director Christine Farren, who joined CUESA in 2003 and became director in 2020. “They continue to face high barriers when starting food businesses and selling at farmers markets. With our community partners, we’re working to change that at our markets, so these innovative entrepreneurs can build their businesses and thrive.”

The pandemic and climate crisis have clarified the essential role of farmers markets in supporting local farms and food makers and community food security. Since 2020, CalFresh (aka Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, or food stamps) usage has more than doubled at Foodwise farmers markets. Last year, Foodwise increased the number of tokens given out via the Market Match program, which doubles shoppers’ CalFresh benefits, giving an additional $15 (up from $10) to spend on fruits and vegetables for free each market day. 

“We are thrilled to see more shoppers using their benefits at our markets, but also know that families still need additional help putting fresh, healthy food on the table,” says Farren. “A core conviction at Foodwise is that fresh food is a right for all, not a privilege to be offered to the few. We believe farmers markets are for everyone, and it was time to make changes within our organization to see that vision become a reality.” 

The name Foodwise has been part of CUESA’s lexicon for more than a decade, rooted in its experiential food education programs, Foodwise Kids (a farmers market field trip and cooking class for elementary school students) and Foodwise Teens (a food justice and job training program for teens). Serving more than 3,000 students from San Francisco Unified School District every year, these free programs have been a critical source of learning, wellness, and connection during the pandemic, bringing youth to the farmers market to enjoy fresh food, build community, and develop life and job skills.

The organization is also known for its free public programs for adults, like its popular farmers market cooking demos and evening talks, which bring together home cooks, local chefs, and community leaders. In-person adult programming has been on pause during the pandemic, but Foodwise is thrilled to be relaunching these programs this spring.

“The shift to Foodwise really places our educational programs at the heart of our organization,” says Foodwise’s Director of Education, Tiffany Chung, who joined the organization in 2021. “We believe that education is key to bringing awareness to our roles in a sustainable food system, and that the farmers market is the perfect classroom. We’re excited to bring people together again to shine a light on community food knowledge, share fresh and seasonal recipes, and take action to grow a healthy and inclusive food future.”

To celebrate these changes at a time of spring renewal, Foodwise is hosting free community events at Mission Community Market on Thursday, March 17 (first market of the season), and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday, March 19, with fun family activities and giveaways.

Foodwise Community Celebration at Mission Community Market

22nd and Bartlett Street, San Francisco

Thursday, March 17, 3 – 7 pm

3:30 – 6:00 pm Kids’ activities at the Foodwise Kids tent, with free totes and giveaways.
5:00 – 7:00 pm Live music from Manos Lindas, in partnership with Little Mission Studio.

Foodwise Community Celebration at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Ferry Building, Embarcadero and Market Streets, San Francisco

Saturday, March 19, 8 am to 2 pm 

9:00 am – 1:00 pm Kids’ activities at the Foodwise Kids tent, seasonal produce samples at the Foodwise Teens tent, and music from BFF.fm at the Ferry Terminal Plaza.
9:30 am Foodwise toast! Hear from our team and celebrate our community at the Foodwise Classroom (in front of the Ferry Building, south of the clocktower).
10:30 am Market to Table Demo: Rachel Bolden-Kramer, My Food Stamps Cookbook
12:00 pm Market to Table Demo: Gaby Maeda, State Bird Provisions

Foodwise will launch a new website this April, complete with its popular seasonality charts and educational resources; in the meantime, a sneak peek can be found at foodwise.org. Foodwise’s visual identity was created by Office, with website development by Kalamuna.

Visit foodwise.org »

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Media Inquiries

For more information, photos, or interviews, please contact:

Brie Mazurek
Communications Director, Foodwise
brie@foodwise.org | 415-291-3276 x104

About Foodwise

Foodwise is a mission-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Founded in 1994, Foodwise (formerly CUESA) operates the world-renowned Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Mission Community Market in San Francisco. Wherever you are on your food journey, Foodwise offers programs to connect eaters of all ages with fresh food and local farms, and inspire communities to take part in creating a fair, regenerative, and delicious food future for all. Visit foodwise.org.

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