Volunteers of the Month: Summer Interns

July 31, 2014

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.

Summer has arrived, and with it, college students who contribute to CUESA’s mission during their academic break. This month we recognize this special set of volunteers: our summer interns. CUESA hosts interns throughout the year in all areas of the organization. Contact Administrative, Events, and Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Mendoza at if you are interested in interning.

Two Bay Area natives and one newcomer from Colorado interned this summer creating educational exhibits, supporting fundraising events, and bolstering marketing efforts. Sarah Tormey, an Agriculture Communications major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, supported CUESA’s marketing initiatives and partnerships. Henry Thomson, an Environmental Science and Italian student at Middlebury College, lent a big helping hand at CUESA’s annual Summer Celebration fundraiser. Janelle Shiozaki, a student at Claremont McKenna College, supported the Discovery Station and farm tours, and created our new drought exhibit.

“Our summer interns were drawn to CUESA’s mission of cultivating a healthy food system, and we are indebted to their contribution to creating more ways for various members of our community—shoppers, farmers, chefs—to engage with us. We love the energy and fresh ideas that Sarah, Henry, and Janelle have brought to the office,” says Cindy Mendoza, Administrative, Events, and Volunteer Coordinator. Meet our summer interns.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?

Sarah: My interest in food comes from it being something we all encounter every day and depend on to live. Food and water are what we are made of, so why not build a strong, healthy body by eating the most nutritious of Earth’s offerings? And what could be better than making that whole experience enjoyable? I also personally love gardening and find no better satisfaction than that in watching a flower turn into a fruit!

Henry: My mother took me to my first farmers market as a newborn and instilled in me a love for simple and delicious home-cooked meals, while my father always encouraged adventurous eating. Since then, I’ve been a tri-daily eater with tendencies for organic and sustainable avocados and stone fruits.

Janelle: Many of my favorite memories growing up include food, from eating fresh cherries from our local farmers market with my mom, to standing on a stool to get a closer glimpse at whatever delicious meal my grandma was cooking for our family celebrations. Now, I can see that food is this truly amazing social force that brings people together.

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

Sarah: I explore San Francisco with my friends and family, and especially gravitate toward free music and street events as well as wandering off into one of San Francisco’s many magical forested parks. I’m not from the area, so it has been really cool getting a local San Fran experience. I love adventures of all kinds: reading, yoga, and playing and listening to music. I swim and lifeguard and spend a lot of time with kids as a babysitter, tutor, and giant kid myself!

Henry: I split my time between Berkeley with my family and dog, Juno, and Middlebury, Vermont, where I study, plays rugby, and get really, really cold during the winter.

Janelle: Test out new dessert recipes, play softball, and gaze at the clouds—but not all at the same time.

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

Sarah: If you have some time to spend a sunny Saturday at the market, I recommend wandering and finding the freaky stuff like blue fish, striped nightshades, and unusual cut flowers. And while you’re exploring, ask questions! Most farmers are more than happy to explain to you why something is the way it is or how to best use an odd ingredient. My favorite midsummer market finds are the fat, colorful heirloom tomatoes, the tiny sweet cherry tomatoes, the berries, and the huge variety of stone fruit—especially the deep red Bing cherries and fuzzy peaches as big as baby heads!

Henry: The O’Henry peaches are a necessity, along with Dirty Girl strawberries.

Janelle: Come visit us at the Discovery Station every Saturday to feed your hunger for sustainable food systems knowledge! CUESA’s weekly newsletter always gives a preview of the exciting exhibit theme of the week. [Check out the new drought exhibit that Janelle developed this month at the CUESA Classroom!]

CUESA: What will you be doing after your CUESA internship?

Sarah: I will be traveling and camping until I start up school again in San Luis Obispo, where I will be for the next year or so until I get my degree!

Henry: I’m going camping in the San Juan Islands for a week before finishing up my summer in Berkeley by spending time with my family, friends, and dog. At the end of August, I will be driving across the country back to school. I-80 East until a slight left before Cleveland and a right in Buffalo should get me to the Champlain Valley just in time for apple season.

Janelle: In the fall, I will be returning to sunny Southern California for my third year at Claremont McKenna College.