CUESA Behind the Mask: Tiffany Chung | CUESA

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August 10, 2021

CUESA Behind the Mask: Tiffany Chung

Last summer, we started taking you “behind the mask” with each CUESA staff member. Now, we want you to meet one of the newest members of our team, Education Manager Tiffany Chung, who came on last spring to radically adapt our Foodwise Kids program for distance learning and re-envision in-person classes.

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

My name is Tiffany Chung and I am the Foodwise Kids and Families Education Manager at CUESA. I’m one of the newer people on the CUESA team, joining at the start of this year and it’s been such an amazing new chapter for me. Ever since I was young, I have cared deeply about food, and my love for food and all of the intersections and connections that food brings about only continues to grow. At CUESA, I get the opportunity to relive my first experiences with really good food as a child every time I get to bring youth to the market or bring good food to youth.

How has the pandemic impacted your work? 

Since I joined CUESA during the pandemic, I immediately jumped into adapting the program to fit a distance-learning model. Historically, students have come on field trips to the farmers market to be able to see all the different fruits and vegetables at the market and meet all the different farmers who grow them. With students unable to come to the market, we had to think about the best way to bring the market experience to them. This prompted us to make a series of educational videos that highlighted our farmers market, along with the farmers and the fruits and vegetables that they grow. We also offered synchronous Zoom classes to teachers who wanted to participate and dropped off seasonal produce to teachers to distribute to their students so they could still taste something new during our sessions together. With all of these elements combined, we were still able to successfully be a part of students’ learning experience even if they weren’t able to physically be at the farmers market. This summer, we’ve begun the slow transition to in-person programming and were able to bring back a few in-person classes for summer campers who were able to walk over to our market. For our community partners that were not able to come to the market, we brought them a variety of fresh and seasonal produce to recreate the farmers market experience at their site. 

What’s a challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job so far was really trying to adapt our program to be just as successful and engaging remotely as it would have been if we were able to bring the students to the market. So much of the magic of our pre-pandemic programming came from being able to take students out of the classroom and bring them out into the lively bustle of the farmers market where they could meet farmers, see a large variety of fruits and vegetables—both familiar and new—and also learn where they come from and how they grow. I’ve really had to think critically about how we could translate those elements into something distance-learning friendly that would still capture the heart of what makes those experiences really magical and memorable. 

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

What I really enjoy about my work at CUESA are the people and the community that I feel I am becoming a part of. Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with so far cares so deeply about the work they do, and seeing that passion is really inspiring. I also love seeing the excitement in kids’ faces when they try something unexpectedly delicious and declare that fruit or vegetable to be their new favorite. 

What do you do to recharge outside of work? 

I love to eat and cook—there’s no bad mood that can’t be cured by eating something delicious, especially when sharing with friends and family. Outside of the food world, I love being outdoors, hiking, and getting out to the beach when I can. Day to day, I also enjoy doing yoga, reading, and hanging out with my cat, Granola.

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

Definitely take the opportunity to talk to the farmers if they’re available and ask them about the food they’re growing! Even though I’ve practically grown up at farmers markets, each time I go out to see what fruits and vegetables are available, I’m still surprised by the amount of variety there is and I learn something new each time.

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

Thank you so much for your support to keep this community going strong! We believe in good food for all and your support helps us realize our mission.

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 »