Volunteer of the Month: Jessica Holmes

July 30, 2021

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. Most of our regular volunteer opportunities are currently on hold with the exception of farmers market, youth education and limited remote roles. Learn more about volunteering here. You can sign up for our next online volunteer orientation on September 9, 2021 here.

CUESA was lucky to attract volunteer Jessica Holmes in January 2021 through our online volunteer orientation. She was referred by a friend, and “with the lockdown was craving an outlet to connect with other neighbors and reason to get out in the city.” Since then she has lent her hand at CUESA’s Veggie Valet and MegaBlack SF’s Juneteenth on the Waterfront, and has been working remotely on website projects. “Have you checked out the recipes on cuesa.org?! So many fun, creative recipes for all the market finds!” says Jessica.

“Jessica’s care for our food community shines through, both in the market and in her work behind the scenes,” says Brie Mazurek, Director of Communications. “CUESA is preparing for a website revamp, which is a huge project. I’m grateful for Jessica bringing her content expertise to thoughtfully reviewing our recipe archive to help us prune, refresh, and resurface hidden gems.” Meet Jessica.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Jessica: Ever since I was a kid I loved cooking, cookbooks, and food! I spent summers with extended family on a blueberry farm in Oregon, and some of my favorite memories are from those summers eating sun-ripened berries and cooking family-style meals with my aunt and grandmother. I reconnect with this joy as an adult by attending farmers markets, being a CSA member of Eatwell Farm, and cooking with my family.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA? And how has the pandemic impacted you?

Jessica: I work freelance in digital marketing and am a mom to daughters Olivia (8) and Emma (5). The pandemic has made me reassess my overscheduled life and prioritize. I’ve gotten better at making time for things that matter to me, like my own rest and quality time with my family. I was reacquainted with how much I enjoy solitude and puttering around at home! 

CUESA: Why are you choosing to volunteer with us at this time?

Jessica: CUESA is an amazing organization, doing important work in the community from educating and empowering youth to lifting up small businesses and family farms.  The staff and fellow volunteers inspire me by their commitment to the organization and everyone is incredibly kind, helpful and hardworking.  I also appreciate the breadth of the volunteer offerings. There’s something for everyone and every schedule.

CUESA: What does the farmers market community mean to you?

Jessica: The market community has brought a lot of joy to my life. I love chatting with the market sellers, artisan food makers, shoppers, and volunteers. I get to contribute to the longevity of something I am deeply passionate about: sustainable agriculture, seasonal eating, plus sharing and learning from others of all ages and backgrounds.

CUESA: Any favorite farmers market foods or home meal prep tips you want to share?

I’m currently loving the Blossom Bluff nectarines and Yerena Farms Chandler strawberries. I get my weekly produce from Eatwell Farm and Dirty Girl Produce, flowers from Devoto Gardens, and bagels and loaves from Midnite Bagel. When I can, I like to wash, prep, and store everything when I return from the market. By the end of the week my go-to meal is a chicken roasted over whatever vegetables are remaining served alongside a leftover herb salsa verde based on this recipe. Not only does this help cut down on food waste, it’s one of my favorite meals, too.