Volunteer of the Month: Rodney Lai

April 28, 2017

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. Join us at our next volunteer orientation is May 6 at the CUESA Classroom at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Since CUESA began managing the Jack London Square Farmers Market last spring, we have been grateful for support from dedicated volunteers working behind the scenes to help make every market and culinary program possible. Inspired to learn more about food and sustainable agriculture, volunteer Rodney Lai has regularly lent a helping hand at CUESA’s culinary programs on both sides of the Bay.

“Rodney has been an amazing volunteer at Jack London Square Farmers Market,” says Katie Lauter, CUESA’s Market Programs Coordinator. “He has helped us in a pinch more than once by filling in to support cooking demonstrations, and was part of the team that carried out the most efficient and organized demo tent breakdown the market has ever seen. He also does precise prep work for our demo chefs and always has a helpful and positive attitude.” Meet Rodney.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Rodney: Food has always played an important role with my family. No event was complete without a good meal. When I was growing up there was always dinner with the family, and my mom used to teach cooking classes. My parents taught me to appreciate different types of food and where it came from. We always had a garden for fresh produce and raised chickens, ducks, and even a goose for fresh eggs.

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

Rodney: Traveling the world looking for a good meal. In the last year I enjoyed hand-pulled noodles in China, mohinga in Myanmar (Burma), and mondongo in Colombia. There’s so much you can learn about a culture from the food their people eat.

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

Rodney: The people. The CUESA staff, the volunteers, and the guest chefs. There’s always something new to learn from the people at the market. And some new produce to try and learn how to prepare.

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

Rodney: The Jack London Square Farmers Market is very convenient for people living in the East Bay. Green garlic was pretty good the last time I was at the market.