You Are Empowering the Next Generation of Healthy Eaters
For kids to be healthy and thrive, they need good food to nourish their bodies and their minds. With your support, CUESA's youth education programs connect more than 2,000 children in our community with nature and fresh fruits and vegetables each year, and empower them with skills to last a lifetime.
CUESA’s Foodwise Kids is a free program for elementary school students that uses the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as a classroom for the taste buds. Through comparative tastings, exploring the market, and a hands-on cooking lesson, we nurture children’s love for fruits and vegetables, teach them to prepare healthy, seasonal foods, and raise their awareness of their role in a sustainable food system.
"When students first come to the program, many say, 'I can’t cook!' or 'My parents never let me cook!' And then they get in the kitchen and learn how to use knives and how to make a few dishes. They take pride in what they’ve made and become receptive to trying new foods."
—Pamela Gee, third-grade teacher
"What if the way to interrupt systemic oppression is by changing the way we feed and move our bodies?...The Foodwise Kids program takes kids through the farmers market step-by-step to say, 'This market is also for you.'"
—Saeeda Hafiz, Wellness Policy Project Manager for San Francisco Unified School District, and CUESA Board Director
Schoolyard to Market
CUESA’s Schoolyard to Market program is a deep investment in our local youth. High school students participate in a 16-week gardening and entrepreneurship curriculum, in which they learn about sustainable food systems, grow produce in their school garden, and sell it at the farmers market.
Last year, 82 students graduated from the course empowered to make healthy food choices and equipped with transferable job skills, such as marketing, business acumen, and customer service. Students felt accomplished in selling the literal fruits of their labor and gained confidence talking to customers. For many students, it was their first paid job!
Our New Schoolyard to Market Summer Internship Grew Youth Leaders
In 2017, your contributions helped CUESA launch a summer internship program for Schoolyard to Market graduates, while also expanding our Foodwise Kids program to serve summer camp groups. High school interns like Mauri (shown at right) took on leadership positions and served as educators and role models for 200 young summer campers during their field trips to the farmers market.
"Through Schoolyard to Market, I have been able to grow, explore, and just learn new things about myself. Even at home, life has changed. I cook with my mom now and have that time to talk with her and have fun with her. It’s special."
—Rosalinda Puac, high school senior
You Are Building a Healthy and Resilient Local Food Shed
At CUESA's farmers markets, thousands of San Francisco and Oakland residents gather to connect with local farmers and build community around fresh, local food. By investing in our farmers markets, you are strengthening our local economy, helping the next generation of growers and producers thrive, and cultivating an alternative food system that doesn't just feed but nourishes everyone in it.
Our marketplaces continue to grow, prosper, and reflect the diversity of our community by providing opportunities for first-generation farmers and immigrant- and women-owned food businesses. CUESA supports these entrepreneurs, bringing broader exposure to take their businesses to the next level.
We welcomed 16 new sellers to the CUESA family! Anna's Seafood, Almanac Beer Co., Bisou Chocolate, Bini's Kitchen, City Bees, Fifth Crow Farm, Happy Acre, JSM Organics, Moua Farm, Oyna Natural Foods (shown at right), Roti, Sun Tracker Farm, Urban Organics, Washoe Valley Duck Farm
“Being in the farmers market generates good revenue, which is important for a small business like us. It helps my team sustain themselves as they look after their families. My employees are my extended family, and they have to be taken care of.”
—Binita Pradhan, Bini's Kitchen
Oakland Grown: New Programs at Jack London Square Farmers Market
CUESA's farmers markets are much more than places to buy food; they are places for people to unwind, explore, and spend time with their families and neighbors. In our second year operating the Sunday Jack London Square Farmers Market, we added fun and educational activities to enhance your market experience:
- We introduced CUESA Kids' Corner to engage local families in fun, hands-on crafts and activities.
- At our first "Summer Jam" seasonal celebration, thousands of locals came out to enjoy a Better Burger Challenge, summer pie contests, and more.
- At the CUESA Community Tent, our shoppers engaged directly with 12 nonprofits from the Oakland community.
- We sold out our first Party Under the Palms: Summer Cocktails of the Farmers Market party, celebrating East Bay bartenders and chefs.
Supporting Our Farmers
Our community rallied together when fires swept through Northern California. You donated, you prepared meals, and you offered much-needed economic and emotional support to our farmers. As we face an uncertain climate future, droughts, floods, and fires threaten our farming communities and their ability to grow food. Your support gives our farmers a fighting chance as they care for the land and feed us, while weathering the challenges ahead.
"What keeps us going is knowing that this farm is so much bigger than the two of us. Collaboration and encouragement from other people is what we’re depending on right now. And because of that support, we’re giving this everything we’ve got."
—Danny Lazzarini and Andrew Seidman, The Peach Jamboree (formerly Woodleaf Farm)
New farmers Andrew and Danny lost their home and vital farm infrastructure in the Butte fires last year. By visiting their stand and buying their organic peaches at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, you have provided vital income and sustained their spirits as they recover and rebuild their dream.
We Are Growing the Good Food Movement
From free cooking demos with celebrity chefs to thought-provoking talks with food movement leaders, CUESA offers experiences designed to awaken your palate, feed your hunger for knowledge, and empower you to take action on the issues you care most about.
Beyond Voting with Your Fork
At CUESA's "Politics on the Dinner Table" series, you gathered to organize for a more equitable and sustainable food system in a new political climate. Local activists and experts motivated us to action on the most pressing issues of our day such as immigration, worker rights, hunger, and climate change.
Market to Table Demos
Wherever you are on your food journey, CUESA's free public programs will appetize and inspire you. Market to Table cooking demos, tastings, and seasonal celebrations at the Ferry Plaza and Jack London Square Farmers Markets engage thousands of eaters in expanding their palates and growing their kitchen confidence.
Bringing the Experts to You
At the CUESA Classroom, we host traveling cookbook authors, local chefs, farmers, food crafters, and cooking instructors as they entertain, demystify, and inspire all of us to get cooking! Last year, we welcomed Deborah Madison, Stella Parks, Melissa Clark, and Joy Wilson, among others.
The Food Shed
You have questions about your food and how it gets to your plate, and the CUESA Food Shed is here to help. This year, 8,108 curious shoppers visited this interactive education tent at the farmers market, deepening their understanding of the food waste, biodiversity, pollinators, and other timely issues.
Food & Farm Tours
Through CUESA’s tour program, visitors get to see, taste, and learn about our food first-hand, guided by the farmers and producers themselves. Last year, we took more than 180 participants to local farms and kitchens, where they met pasture-raised laying hens, saw aquaponics in action, tasted edible insects, and more.
Our dedicated volunteers and interns donated over 6,000 hours this year to teach kids to cook, support cooking demos and tastings, assist visitors at our farmers markets, and more. Local chefs and bartenders, advisory committee members, and corporate groups gave an additional 4,000 hours in support of CUESA's mission.
Thank You for Making This Work Possible
Whether you shop at CUESA's farmers markets, volunteer your time at our education programs, or donate by attending our seasonal fundraising events, you are contributing to a healthy future for kids, farmers, and the earth. Thank you for your partnership and support!
Financials: Your Donations in Action
Here's how we're putting your generous contributions to work.
A Banner Year Ahead
As CUESA's celebrates 25 years of cultivating a healthy food system in 2018, we have exciting and ambitious plans underway, such as taking on Mission Community Market, embarking on new educational initiatives, and more news to come. Your partnership is critical as we plan for the next 25 years and beyond. Let’s keep this good work going!