Volunteer of the Month: Maddie Emodi

February 22, 2018

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. We’ll be hosting new volunteer orientations on March 25 (Oakland) and May 5 (SF).

Interested in volunteering with CUESA but not sure where to start? Do what Maddie Emodi does: dabble in a variety of activities. Before her recent move from NYC, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market was a must-visit on every trip Maddie took here. “It’s such a special place and one of the main reasons I was so excited to move to San Francisco,” she says. As a way to meet like-minded people and get involved with her new community, she started volunteering in fall 2017, supporting CUESA’s Sunday Supper: A Farm to City Feast. In addition to helping out at fundraisers and providing office support, she has been a volunteer educator with Foodwise Kids.

“Maddie is friendly, sharp, and a quick study, and has been able to tackle any task given to her. She delivers top-quality work with grace and ease,” says Cindy Mendoza, CUESA’s Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator. “I love that she’s also committed to working with our Foodwise Kids program, which makes her a great ambassador for our youth education programs.” Meet Maddie.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Maddie:  First from a naturally voracious appetite and hanging around my grandmother, who has spent most of her 97 years in the kitchen, making incredible meals out of very little. She gave me my love of cooking and bringing people together over great meals, but reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma in college is what really flipped the switch for me. It got me thinking more deeply about our food system, and to this day I still spend most of my mental energy thinking about that stuff.

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

Maddie: I do marketing and communications consulting for food-focused clients, most recently helping to launch a few food-related books by Bay Area authors. I’m addicted to political podcasts, and since I’m still relatively new to San Francisco, I spend a lot of my free time meeting new people, exploring new neighborhoods, and immersing myself in nature or wine country (or both) on the weekends.

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

Maddie: I love getting to take our Foodwise Kids students out into the farmers market, where their curiosity starts to run wild. The best part is when we stumble upon something they’ve never seen before. I get to tell them all about it, and sometimes we even get to taste it together as a group. To be part of someone’s very first experience with a new fruit or veggie is such a cool feeling!

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

Maddie: If I’m hosting or going to a dinner party, I love picking up some Hog Island oysters from the Saturday market. They’re always so fresh, require almost no additional prep, and no one expects them. That’s my favorite party trick.