CUESA Behind the Mask: Vance Milan | CUESA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market »

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

Mission Community Market »

OPEN! Thu 3pm–7pm

August 06, 2020

CUESA Behind the Mask: Vance Milan

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 Assistant Vance Milan. 

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

My name is Vance Milan and I have been working for CUESA as an operations assistant for about four years now. When I am not at CUESA, I am a student at SF State and my major is health education.

I work every week at both the Mission Community Market and the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and my job is to help with a little bit of everything. This includes setup and breakdown, crowd control and social distancing, and helping with load-in and load-out so the sellers can get in and out of the market safely and avoid any collisions with other farmers or people walking through the market. I also help with managing our chef parking areas and helping out at Veggie Valet and Info Booth. Before COVID, I also worked with the Foodwise Kids program for the last couple of years and at CUESA’s fundraising events, which are all on hold during COVID.

How has your work changed since the pandemic?

COVID-19 completely changed our workplace and has made the environment more challenging to work in. Keeping customers six feet apart during a busy market is difficult, but we are very thankful to the people who practice social distancing while they are here. They help us keep the market going strong and healthy. With Foodwise Kids on hiatus since March, I haven’t been able to help with that program. I really miss working with the kids, especially all of the energy they bring to the market, and helping them try new things.

What’s something that you wish people understood better about the farmers market?

It is important that people shopping at the market understand that they need to help us with social distancing, and that the fruits and vegetables at the market are on display only. Our farmers are experts in agriculture and what they grow, and they will give you the best quality, if you ask. We all have to slow down the spread of this pandemic by wearing our masks, and touching everything less. I wish people would be more patient and remember to have the farmers hand you the product and watch out for other shoppers. We all need to avoid needlessly touching fruits and veggies, and give each other room, even if it takes a little longer to shop.

What inspires or motivates you about your work at CUESA? 

When it comes to working at CUESA, I really enjoy the community that surrounds the market most. From the chefs to the Ferry Building security team, we are all connected to the market and working together to keep the show going. Also it’s cool how the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is located so close to the water and has a great view of the Bay Bridge.

What do you do to recharge outside of work? 

In order to recharge I try to get lots of sleep and enjoy my downtime with physical activities like basketball, biking, skateboarding, or helping my grandma get some vitamin D by walking outdoors in the sun. We have to care for elders during this difficult time.

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

Some of my favorite market foods are anything at Namu, which is Korean fusion style type of food, and the burritos at Mi Comedor.I also love the stone fruit this time of year. Tory Farms peaches are my favorite, and I also love the corn at G&S Corn and the smoked fish at the Mission Community Market from Coastside Specialties.

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

Thank you for supporting the markets!

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 »