CUESA Behind the Mask: Andrea Akers | CUESA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market »

OPEN! Sat 8am–2pm | Tue & Thu 10am–2pm

Mission Community Market »

OPEN! Thu 3pm–7pm

July 08, 2020

CUESA Behind the Mask: Andrea Akers

In these times of social distancing, we would love for you to get to know our team better. Each week, we’re going to take you “behind the mask” with a different CUESA staff member, so that, even when our faces are covered, we won’t be strangers at the farmers market. This week, meet our Operations Manager Andrea Akers. 

Tell us a bit about you and your role and history at CUESA.

I’m an SF native and was raised in Chinatown my whole life. I have a 12-year-old daughter named Re’ Naiyah who is in middle school and is my entire life. I started interning at CUESA through New Door Ventures and ended up getting hired afterward. I’ve been working for CUESA for 10 ½ years, and over the years the sellers and my co-workers have turned into family and customers into friends. 

As the Operations manager at CUESA I deal with the layouts and markings for all sellers as well as managing the Mission Community Market. I supervise interns that come to us through New Door and also manage our Ops Team with Lulu, Tommy, and Deven. I work on A/R and billing for all sellers for all of our markets. I also deal with all of our inspections from SF Fire Department to the Agricultural Department. I play a part in a little bit of everything at CUESA and wouldn’t change a thing. 

How has your work changed since the pandemic?

Work has changed in many ways, with all the new protocols that market operators all over have to deal with, from social distancing to figuring out layout plans and creating lines. To most, it may not seem like a lot but it is, and at the end of the day it’s all worth it. Making sure folks are staying safe and, at the same time, getting some of the freshest produce there is and knowing their makers or growers makes all the difference.

What’s a difficult or challenging part of your job, or something that you wish people understood better?

I wish folks were more understanding of what it takes to run a market and to be patient with staff and sellers. It doesn’t just magically appear. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to make it all happen. We have an amazing operations team that makes sure it does every week. I want people to know that we do our best and that it should be appreciated more.

What inspires or motivates you about your work at CUESA? Or what do you enjoy most?

I’m all about making new friends and meeting new people. Working at CUESA and being in direct contact with the public allows me to do all those things. I’m motivated knowing that we’re helping families, and I’m able to support mine because of it. I also love my co-workers and our seller community. 

What do you do to recharge outside of work? How are you taking care of yourself at this time?

I hang out with my kid and watch old reruns of “The Office” and “Gillmore Girls” and try new things to eat. I also like to binge-watch any good series on Netflix and listen to music. I also love hanging out with my friends but haven’t been able to see all of them since the pandemic, and that kinda sucks. 

Do you have any favorite farmers market foods or tips you can share?

There are so many good things at the market it’s hard to choose, but here are just a few of my favorites: Anything at Mi Comedor, Namu, Delightful Foods, and Primavera is a must. I love all things fresh and dried from Everything Under the Sun, my favorite being Bill’s wild arugula. Cling peaches from K&J Orchards are my favorite along with all things from Tory Farms, GG Farms, Rojas Family Farm, and more. 

Is there anything else you would like our market community to know?

I would like shoppers and the market community to know that I appreciate their support and dedication to the market. It’s very important to the sellers and their livelihoods, but also to me because I’m able to support my daughter and make sure we’re taken care of. 

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »