Volunteer of the Month: Ana Valdes

September 8, 2016

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

Sharing the stories of our market sellers is core to CUESA’s work. With a great fondness for farmers markets and a background in sustainable food systems, food justice, and holistic nutrition from her studies at UC Berkeley and Bauman College, Ana “Annie” Valdes found the “perfect culmination of those topics” as a CUESA intern.

She first joined us as a Communications Intern last summer and continued volunteering this summer to pen articles and seller profiles for the CUESA website. She has also supported events like CUESA’s annual Goat Festival (pictured above), Summer Celebration, and Eat Drink SF. This week she starts her new job as a Nutrition Educator Programs Assistant for the Cooking Matters program offered by 18 Reasons.

“We’ve been so grateful to have Annie’s help the last two summers, taking farm tour photos, researching foods for our website, and interviewing our farmers and producers, as well as lending a hand at events,” says Marketing and Communications Manager Brie Mazurek. “Her passion for good food shines through in everything she does!” Meet Annie.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Annie: I became interested in nutrition in high school, but didn’t really study it in great depth until I attended Bauman College some years later. There I got a better understanding of what whole, local, and sustainable foods meant both for human and environmental health.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?

Annie: I spend a great deal of time outdoors. I love running outside, backcountry hiking, and camping and simply just taking the dog to the beach! When I have the time, I also really enjoy cooking elaborate meals. If I can get market-fresh ingredients, the more motivated I feel in the kitchen!

CUESA: What was your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?

Annie: I really enjoy all the awesome events and programs. The food is always delicious and the ambiance is always beautiful. I also appreciate the close-knit community of chefs and farmers that CUESA supports through their farmers markets.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?

Annie: To really get some serious shopping done, get to the market early on Saturday. And always bring a large tote and/or cart! I discovered some fresh almond meal from G.L. Alfieri Farms last weekend that was to die for—it melts in your mouth! I’ve used it in smoothies, cobbler topping, and on top of seasonal fruit and oatmeal for breakfast. Also if you plan on grabbing lunch from the farmers market vendors and you’re with other people, always choose different things so you can share. There are just too many delicious items to get the same thing.