CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture is undergoing a rebranding of sorts. They want to focus more on CUESA, the word (pronounced, kway-sa) rather than the entire proper name. That was the first thing I learned on last Friday morning, June 22nd, when I met their Executive Director Dave Stockdale. That’s a good thing, too, since even I, whose tried to commit it to memory, must still stop and speak with some purpose to ensure I don’t sack the name. And for the next hour, this continued: asking and learning about CUESA.
Dave is pleasantly articulate and considerate with his words. He was a great interview. And though it wasn’t especially hard-hitting (no sharp edges, policy talk, etc), it wasn’t supposed to be. Nopa has long had a relationship with the nonprofit, and wanted to share more about their programming and their role in educating consumers and food professionals, who Dave says, “are the next generation of Sustainable Food Leaders”. Seems like pretty important work when put in those terms.
You can listen to the podcast in its entirety, by clicking here, but listed below are some highlights from the podcast, and things you generally ought to know about the organization.
- CUESA is the manager of the Ferry Plaza Famer’s Market, widely regarded as one of the premiere in the nation
- CUESA was founded in 1994, two years after the market opened, to educate consumers about the (especially then) obscure ingredients that were being sold in the market
- Dave lists Alice Waters and Star Route Famer/Founder Warren Weber among those responsible for starting the market in 1992
- CUESA receives funding through market revenues, donors, sponsors and their popular seasonal fundraising events
- For the public, they offer Farm Tours, where a bus takes 55 cityfolk out into the wild to learn and see up close where their food comes from. The program has also been extended to include prepared food purveyors who also participate in the market
- For the trade, (and about educating those leaders of tomorrow) CUESA works with culinary schools to set up externships for students, and also hosts chefs from other cities to visit the market and learn how what they are doing could be applied in their own local food systems.
- Finally, the coolest part about CUESA, is their website. If you ever go to that wonderful market on Tuesday or Saturday and want to know exactly where that farm is that grew the best strawberries you’d ever tasted, it’s all there. They do wonderful profiles of the farms and supplement it with a google earth map. It is really cool and really informative.
Hope you enjoy the podcast!