Volunteer of the Month: Wayne Lam

October 29, 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 and office roles. Learn more about volunteering here.

For nearly five years, CUESA volunteer Wayne Lam has supported our Market to Table cooking demonstrations and Foodwise Kids, but he stands out as a regular volunteer for special events like Sunday Supper. He was looking for meaningful nonprofit organizations to join to learn about our food system and stay socially and physically active, while meeting like-minded people who care about important issues and contributing to a better society. 

“We have the pleasure of working with Wayne during our special events,” says Cindy Mendoza, Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator. “He’s the one who stays after the regular shift on Saturday night to help us move 300 boxes to get ready for our early Sunday morning Sunday Supper feast box packing shift. He would help me sort through the recycling and compostables of our Cocktails of the Farmers Market events in the compactor room—not pretty, but so important for responsible waste management. We’re always so happy to have him on our events team. He’s very game and thoughtful and even treated our Sunday Supper team to pizza after we distributed our feast boxes. Thank you!” Meet Wayne.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Wayne: I have an interest in food because I am passionate about healthy living. As the “You are what you eat” proverbial phrase goes, I have a curiosity in the food that we eat, how it is made, and where it comes from. More importantly, I want to better understand our food system and the stories behind our farmers to gain a deeper appreciation for all of their hard work and challenges they face in meeting the increasing demands of our growing society.

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

Wayne: I love playing sports so I usually like playing baseball, basketball, and football in my free time, but the pandemic has turned me into a [emojis for couch + sweet potato = sweet couch potato], unfortunately. I am also a curious learner so I enjoy reading, watching educational programs, attending various events, and traveling to expand my horizons and improve myself on personal and professional levels. 

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

Wayne: I want to volunteer with an organization that contributes to a positive social mission. CUESA fits the bill because it helps our local farmers and small businesses succeed in an ever-changing climate, economic and social environment. Volunteering with CUESA provides me with the opportunities to reap mental and physical benefits all while witnessing my efforts come to fruition live. I believe it is important to stay actively engaged for our emotional and physical well-being and do what we can to help those in need like our local farmers and small businesses, especially during these challenging times. I believe we can make a positive impact on our food system collectively and collaboratively with every small effort.

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

Wayne: A farmers market community is associated with many different meanings to me. It is more than just a marketplace where we get our groceries; it’s a gathering place where people from different backgrounds meet and connect. It’s a place where we can learn about different cultures and enlighten our senses and perspectives through food. It’s a place that unifies us and brings people together.

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

Wayne: I believe variety is the key to wholesome healthy living so I encourage everyone to try a variety of different types of fruits and vegetables, especially the ones with deep color because they tend to pack a lot of nutritional values as scientific studies suggest. You can also reap health and financial benefits if you buy and prepare your own meals. Want more healthy living and financial tips? Come volunteer with me at CUESA!