CUESA Behind the Mask: Rebecca Crawbuck | CUESA

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July 03, 2020

CUESA Behind the Mask: Rebecca Crawbuck

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 Partnerships & Events Manager Rebecca Crawbuck. 

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

In 2015, I learned about CUESA as a shopper at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and quickly became a volunteer. I then interned for Foodwise Kids where I saw first-hand how impactful the farmers market is as a classroom. In 2017, I joined the staff as part of the development team. I’m now the Partnerships & Events Manager.

How has your work changed since the pandemic?

Before the pandemic, I was responsible for planning our fundraising events like Cocktails of the Farmers Market, Summer Bash, and Sunday Supper. These lively parties at the Ferry Building gathered hundreds of people to celebrate with our farmers and enjoy our city’s best food and drink, while raising vital funds to support our farmers markets and education programs. Our in-person events are on pause and their future is uncertain. But the reality is, these fundraising events provided 25% of our annual income, which means that we are getting creative about how we raise funds and serve our community in new ways

When everything changed in March, we saw our farmers lose half their sales overnight when restaurants closed and many of our shoppers became unable to physically shop at the market. We quickly pivoted to meet our communities’ changing needs and we launched two new programs, the CUESA Farmers Market Box curbside pickup program and Feed Hospitality program (which provides free produce boxes to unemployed hospitality workers). With events on pause, I have been managing these two programs for the last three months.

What do you enjoy most about your work at CUESA?

I love working with our farmers. It is such a joy to be in touch with our growers and producers each week. This is such a deeply generous and grounded community, and I feel truly lucky to be part of it.

What do you do to recharge outside of work? 

For me, a perfect evening is spent baking and listening to music. The highlight of my week is my weekend video call with my family, where we make a cocktail recipe together.

From our Cocktails of the Farmers Market events, I’ve learned a lot about “closed-loop” or waste-free cocktails from my friends at the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG), such as transforming wilted herbs into a simple syrup or spent citrus into an oleo-saccharum or citrus stock. It’s satisfying to use ingredients you might throw away to create something delicious.

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

I wait all year for tomato season, and it’s finally here! Is there anything better than a perfectly ripe tomato? A big heirloom tomato from Balakian Farms and a baguette from Marla Bakery are all the ingredients I need for a divine summer dinner.

Is there anything else you would like our shoppers and market community to know about why their support matters?

I’m so inspired by our market community’s support of our new Feed Hospitality program, which we are currently raising funds for, so we can keep it going. We created the Feed Hospitality program to support local farmers who lost critical restaurant sales and to direct their fresh, healthy produce directly to out-of-work hospitality professionals. CUESA has always relied on the support and generosity of chefs, bartenders, and hospitality professionals. Now, this community is really hurting.

I know many of these folks because they’ve volunteered at our events and shopped at our markets for years. We feel a sense of responsibility to step up and be there for those who have always been there for us. Hearing from farmers about how the box programs are helping them make up for lost sales, or from Feed Hospitality participants about how much they need and appreciate receiving fresh produce during this stressful time, really drives my sense of the urgency in this work and gives me deep gratitude for the interdependence of our food community.

 

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 »