Volunteer of the Month: Anthony Cotton

April 6, 2015

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.

Our next volunteer orientation is on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more and RSVP.

Anthony Cotton came to San Francisco to learn more about the food industry, with an intention to start his own food business when he returns to his home in England. Exploring the local food scene naturally led him to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. “I then found out about CUESA and about the incredible things they do,” says Anthony. “It tied in well with what I wanted to do with my business, as I am keen to use sustainable food products. Volunteering for CUESA was a no-brainer.”

Over the last few months, he has dived right in, volunteering regularly at CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program, cooking demos, Food Shed, and fundraising events. “I chatted with Anthony about his food business plans at the volunteer orientation, and the next day he was in the kitchen,” says Administrative, Events, and Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Mendoza. “He has become a welcome regular, always lending a hand with good cheer. I’m looking forward to seeing him take the lessons he learned here to help him grow his business in England.” Meet Anthony.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Anthony: My interest in food stems from my parents. My mother is a very good cook and you can be sure that almost every dish she produces is delicious and fairly interesting. My father, whilst not being a good cook, has always appreciated good food and been keen to explore new cuisines. Whenever we would go on holiday he would make sure that he tried to unearth any hidden gems and try as much of the local cuisines as possible. Both my parents have heavily contributed to my love of food.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Anthony: During my time in San Francisco, when I am not volunteering at CUESA, I can be found doing a range of different things. I have been volunteering for Cooking Matters, which is another fantastic organisation. I have also been meeting people in the food industry and exploring San Francisco. I have been going to as many restaurants, supermarkets, food trucks, and farmers markets as possible. I am unfortunately still nowhere near getting to the end of the list of recommendations I have received.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering for CUESA?
Anthony: I have got to say the best part of volunteering for CUESA has been the people I have met. The CUESA staff and volunteers, undoubtedly, made the whole experience so much better, as well as the kids and the farmers who have been great every time I volunteer. I have learnt a great deal from CUESA and I have become even more wedded to the idea of making a sustainable product that helps to reduce waste as a result.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?
Anthony: Having access to the farmers market on a regular basis has been fantastic. The produce available is of particular interest to me, as my business will be making salad dressings and toppings. I would say one of my favourite things at the farmers market is Asian pears, which are delicious in a salad with blue cheese, walnuts, and a honey-lemon dressing.