Volunteer of the Month: Beatrice Hatcher

April 3, 2014

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, April 30. Learn more and RSVP.

A Bay Area native who spent many years in rural Kentucky before returning to San Francisco, nutritional research hobbyist Beatrice Hatcher came to CUESA to connect with the people who grow her food. She learned that “eating is an agricultural act” from working at livestock-based Marxbury Farm and following thought-leaders like Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, Wendell Berry, and Weston A. Price. Since fall 2013, she has volunteered at CUESA’s Discovery Station, supported our cocktails of the farmers market events, and, most recently, provided ongoing support in the CUESA office.

“Beatrice is a steady and regular volunteer who has given CUESA valuable time helping much-needed event preparation, data entry, organizing, and research work,” says Cindy Mendoza, CUESA’s Administrative, Events, and Volunteer Coordinator. Meet Beatrice.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Beatrice: My early connection with food happened in Kentucky. Every few years we would get a calf from my uncle’s dairy farm and pasture-raise it for meat. These calves were typically named “Breakfast,” “Lunch,” or “Dinner.” This was pretty much when I started linking live animals with food. When I was teenager we raised rabbits for a meat production company in Atlanta. I remember really liking the rabbits, but I didn’t like shoveling their manure and moving it to the compost pile, since it was hard and dirty work. I was never sad to see the rabbits go when it was time to harvest them, though I wish I had been a bit more in tune with alternative livestock raising methods. When I left for college I didn’t return to a livestock-based life and was mostly a vegetarian, because I thought it was healthy, until 2010.

In the two years I was at Marksbury Farm I learned many things: the meaning of sustainability, holistic management and use of land, the politics of food and life, humane handling of animals, the value of good work and time, the sacrifice that is eating meat, how to properly vent a chicken. I read Wendell Berry’s nonfiction, and I learned a lot about the Paleo Diet and Weston A. Price (WAP). WAP is a whole foods diet based on the research by dentist Weston A. Price’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, published in 1939. This new knowledge revived my interest in food, influenced all aspects of my life, and has helped connect me to the soil that we come from.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Beatrice: When I am not volunteering I am a watercolorist, textile artist, home cook, and cat herder.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?
Beatrice: What isn’t my favorite part of volunteering? It’s a fun way to meet and work with great people. You don’t realize how much work goes into CUESA until you see behind the scenes. After I started volunteering, I kept coming back because I feel that CUESA is an organization that cultivates a connection between organic-based farmers and my community. I wish I could give CUESA an award instead. You guys rock!

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?
Beatrice: My favorite produce item at the market right now is pea greens.