Volunteer of the Month: Ian McFaul

May 24, 2018

vom_ian mcfaul

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.

A true local food advocate with CUESA and other sister organizations, Ian McFaul celebrates his four-year anniversary of being a dedicated CUESA volunteer. After enjoying the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for years and volunteering for the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley since 2007, he wanted to make a similar positive impact in his local food system closer to his San Francisco home. He has touched all areas of CUESA: fundraising events, panel discussions, culinary programs, farm tours, annual appeal, and all three CUESA farmers markets.

“Ian is one of those delightful volunteers with whom you would love to grab a drink after the volunteer shift is over and just keep talking because he is rich with stories and ideas,” says Director of Development Christine Farren. “He holds a keen interest in sustainable food knowledge that he is often the one recommending documentaries or talks to the CUESA staff. It feels sort of eternal how often we see him in the office and in how many different capacities he agrees to help. Whether it is staffing the voting table at one of our fundraising cocktail events, or serving a special dish from our kitchen in the farmers market, or managing a special project, Ian’s nature is to be hospitable to guests. He says, ‘yes,’ to almost anything and is comfortable offering feedback on how systems could be improved—which we love! I’m so glad we get to honor his service. He’s a great member of the team!” Meet Ian.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Ian: I have had a lifelong interest in food. My connection was sparked first by summers with friends surrounded by cherry and apple orchards in Door County, Wisconsin, and was really ignited after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. After that, I knew I wanted to be personally involved in creating a better world through connecting people and food, environmentalism, and championing biodiversity.

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

Ian: I spend most of my non-CUESA time with a number of very similar organizations; with Slow Food traveling around the country and world representing Sonoma County and the USA. I help Sonoma County Farm Trails with the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, and volunteer in The Edible Schoolyard garden in Berkeley. I’m also on the Board of Directors of the Randall Museum Friends, supporting the city-owned museum’s mission to teach young people about the cultures and environments of the San Francisco Bay Area. The museum fosters hands-on learning and a love of science, nature, and the arts.

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

Ian: I love spending time with the CUESA staff, farmers, and food makers, who dedicate their lives to furthering good food. I also love how CUESA volunteering is flexible to your ability to get involved, offering lots of evening, weekend, and other opportunities outside of normal business hours.

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

Ian: I love the very rare and special yellow fraises des bois that are available now from Happy Quail Farms. If I had to pick a favorite farmers market food, it would be Lagier Ranches’ Bronx grapes, usually available mid-August through mid-September.

Photo of volunteers Nancy Freeborn and Ian McFaul by Alex Akamine, Amanda Lynn Photography.