Volunteer of the Month: Tiffany Lee
June 7, 2012
This month, CUESA launches a new Volunteer of the Month program to recognize 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 CUESA’s mission. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.
Tiffany Lee, our Volunteer of the Month for June, started volunteering for CUESA in early 2011 and hasn’t stopped since. You can find her at the market almost every Saturday, bouncing between the information booth and the CUESA kitchen as she directs customers to vendors and cheerily preps for food demonstrations. “Tiffany dives fully into any projects she helps with and has a consistently positive attitude,” says Elianna Friedman, CUESA’s market chef. Sandra Norberg, a CUESA information booth staff person, also notes that “Tiffany volunteers so much of her time and is willing to help out whenever asked.”
CUESA: It’s hard to believe you have time for much besides volunteering for CUESA. What do you do when you aren’t at the market?
Tiffany: I probably don’t get as much sleep as I should! During the week, I work in admissions at University High School, a small, independent high school in San Francisco. Outside of work and the market, I practice yoga at Yoga to the People and take ballet at the Academy of Ballet. My background is originally in book publishing, and I enjoy writing and reading. I really like trying out new restaurants and hanging out with loved ones over a good meal. I enjoy baking, and I’m also cooking more at home and with friends these days. I have a bit of “kitchen anxiety,” but I’ve been trying to work on that!
I’ve started learning how to garden a bit, which basically means that I spend a lot of time hovering nervously over some plant starts that I got from Flatland Flower Farm and through CUESA’s Schoolyard to Market program.
CUESA: How did you become interested in food?
Tiffany: During college, I interned with San Francisco magazine. One of my jobs involved compiling the results from the readers’ survey for the annual restaurant issue. I was occasionally “paid” in restaurant gift certificates, so I actually got to experience the places that so many readers were excited about. One of my first jobs immediately out of college was in artisanal food PR, which was also a great, educational experience for me. I went on to work in book publishing for about seven years and, at my last publisher, I managed the publicity for a few authors who wrote about farming and sustainable food, including Wendell Berry.
CUESA: What made you want to volunteer for CUESA?
Tiffany: I was already going to the market as a shopper almost every Saturday, so I figured that I might as well make myself useful. Plus, I was lured to the volunteer orientation with promises of free food. Just kidding! Honestly, volunteering has always been a big part of my life and I can’t think of a better organization to offer my time to than CUESA. Its mission to educate the public about sustainable agriculture and food systems is one that I truly believe in and support. It’s what gets me out of bed at 6 am every Saturday morning. Well, that and regular access to Blue Bottle coffee, Saint Benoit’s Meyer lemon yogurt, and 4505 Meats’s maple bacon sausage breakfast sandwich, I suppose.
CUESA: Do you have any interesting stories from your time as a CUESA volunteer?
Tiffany: Sunday Supper was pretty magical, actually. And I love volunteering at the festivals, where I’ve done everything from teaching kids how to grow their own seeds at the Grow-Your-Own Festival to playing with baby goats at the Goat Festival. But my favorite thing to do is to help chefs do their shopping for their Market to Table demos at the Saturday market. It’s a great way to meet and get to know the vendors and farmers whose amazing products we use in the CUESA kitchen.