Volunteer of the Month: Foodwise Kids Interns

May 26, 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.

This month we recognize a special set of volunteers, our interns. CUESA hosts interns throughout the year in all areas of the organization. Contact Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator Cindy Mendoza at cindy@cuesa.org if you are interested in interning.

CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program just wrapped up its fourth school year on a record high. In the 2015-16 academic year, 2,284 elementary school students in 102 classes visited the Tuesday and Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on this field trip and hands-on cooking program. CUESA’s spring Foodwise interns Molly Calhoun and Josh Greenfield joined Renata Cauchon-Damone (who also interned and was profiled last fall) for the spring semester.

A San Francisco State senior, Molly knows the farmers market intimately from having worked at the Rancho Gordo market stand and later in their shop in the Ferry Building. In the last semester of her undergraduate studies, this internship was a perfect way for her to get real world experience in a familiar environment and fill class units. Josh joined the CUESA team from Larkin Street Youth Services to share his love of local seasonal food with kids and to return to the world of education.

“Molly and Josh have been an essential part of Foodwise Kids this semester,” says Education Program Coordinator Tessa Kappe. “Each has brought a strong passion for local sustainable food, which they have shared with thousands of kids by supporting them in becoming empowered eaters and excited young chefs! Utilizing beautiful veggie paintings by fellow intern Renata, this team elevated the quality of Foodwise Kids through the development of infographics that deepen kids’ engagement with the story of our food. It has been fun to watch Josh engage students with his approachable teaching style and passion for healthy eating. Molly’s warm and personable way of relating to volunteers, as well as her countless hours of dedication in the CUESA office, have contributed greatly to the success of the Foodwise Kids program.”

At the end of each class, the young students heartily scream, “Thank you, farmers!” With the same spirit, we shout, “Thanks, Foodwise Kids team, and best of luck in your next adventure!” Meet Molly and Josh.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Molly: Well, my dad is a chef, so that helps! I was always a little curious about the food world, when he would come home babbling about how it’s pronounced “FWA GRAH,” or showing me how to make a radish into a rosebud. I worked with Rancho Gordo for a long time learning about specialty food and how it fits in with the food culture of the Bay Area. Once I started learning about food sovereignty, and how (and if) people all over the world are able to feed themselves, I knew I needed to get involved somehow. I thought starting with my own food community would be the best way to learn.

Josh: When I was young, my family had a summer vegetable garden, which was always fun to help with. In college I studied Natural Resource Economics. Combine those two and you land straight in the sustainable food movement.

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

Molly: I have been trying to spend more time with family lately, and they are all up in Napa. The food scene there has changed a lot so we like to go out to eat up there, like one of my favorite local places Small World on Coombs Street. I like to read and always carry a book, and I like to play games that would be nerdy to most people. After all, I met my boyfriend playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Josh: I love to ride my bike, play pick-up basketball, eat out, cook in, catch a live show, and explore new places.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about interning with CUESA?

Molly: Anyone who has interacted with Foodwise Kids knows that the kids are the best part. Hearing tiny people say, “I LOVE the kale chips!” is pretty adorable. Being down in the kitchen and seeing the kids find a new and broader definition for “vegetables” is great. We have been learning about who the farmers are and when they see them at the market they get to take ownership over their knowledge and say, “Hey, that’s Farmer Bill! Hi, Farmer Bill!!” You can’t help but smile.

Josh: The excitement of the kids eating and cooking fresh fruits and veggies is amazing. Hearing a group of first graders scream about how delicious peas are never gets old. And who knew so many things could be seasoned with cinnamon? Always a favorite.

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

Molly: It might be totally weird, but look at other people’s shopping bags! Now, I am suggesting you look AT them, not IN them, remember. It gives you a chance to interact with other shoppers, and I’ve learned from my time at the market that often other shoppers have just as much to share about food as the vendors. Also, Heirloom Organic Gardens’ nopales are so delectable right now. The cactus paddles are much sweeter than you might think and have a citrusy tang you might not expect.

Josh: Blossom Bluff’s stone fruit and Triple Delight’s blueberries are unbelievably good.

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