Volunteer of the Month: Marie Wood

February 24, 2022

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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 and office roles. Learn more about volunteering here.

Since taking a CUESA cooking class 10 years ago, veteran volunteer Marie Wood has supported our panel discussions, farm tours, market-to-table cooking demonstrations, and cocktail events. After a pandemic break, she returned in 2021 to help market shoppers at Veggie Valet. She says, “Even when I wasn’t directly volunteering, I always supported the markets however I could. So glad to be back again!”

“I have worked with Marie through the years and now more closely during the pandemic. She always greets customers with open arms, easily starts conversations with them, and provides market information or great cooking tips,” says Deven Okry, Assistant Market Manager. “She anticipates our needs and asks how she can help lighten the load. It’s always a joy to have her in the market, and she always brings so much positivity and her warm light wherever she goes. We’ve learned more about each other, including her Italian background, and she even helps me with my Italian!” Meet Marie.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Marie: My parents were farmers from Italy…It’s in my DNA.

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

Marie:  I try to get outside and hike whenever possible, even if it’s just a city hike. I also try to share my volunteering time with other organizations. During the pandemic, the SF Food Bank has needed many extra hands. I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to work from home and everyone in my circle – family and friends – have remained safe and well. To be honest, I feel the pandemic has been an exercise in perspective and keeping me grounded in what is really important.

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

Marie: Now that I am able to work remotely from home, full-time, I have more flexibility on the weekend.  Anyway I can support the farming community and be a part of “normalizing” activities during this unsettled time is a joyful use of my time.

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

Marie: I love the community and ritual of farmers markets.  We are so lucky in the Bay Area to have so much wonderful food at our disposal. I feel it is so important to support our farmers and those who work so hard to provide us with healthy, fresh, delicious options to sustain our well-being. I love seeing the regulars and getting to know the farmers, and I especially love seeing the Foodwise Teens in the market. CUESA may be their only opportunity to have exposure to the farming world and learn about how food gets to their table. I am so grateful for our farming community!

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

Marie: Being Italian, I am so grateful for Devil’s Gulch and having access to fresh rabbit. I make a mean roasted garlic and rosemary rabbit…such a delicious and sustainable option to other meats or fish – yum!

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