CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn more at

A New Standard for California Olive Oil

California has taken matters into its own hands to elevate the reputation of domestic olive oil just in time for the fall harvest. Last month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture announced new standards for the state’s olive oil producers, based on recommendations from the industry’s leaders.

Can You Trust The “Natural” Label on Food Products?

If you think the “natural” label means that a food product contains no artificial ingredients, pesticides, antibiotics, or GMOs, you’re mistaken—but you’re not alone. CUESA spoke with Urvashi Rangan, PhD, executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety & Sustainability Center, to learn more about sneaky food labels and a campaign to ban the term “natural.”

10 Ways Farmers Are Saving Water

As California faces a historic drought, many farmers are relying on groundwater reserves to carry them through the dry season. Pumping groundwater is currently unregulated in California (that could soon change), and drawing on reserves now could cause shortages in the future. Sustainability-minded farmers are looking ahead and using an arsenal of methods to conserve water. Here are just a few.

The Sweet Lowdown: Honey 101

Honeybees play a critical role in our food system, pollinating a third of the crops we eat, including tree nuts, stone fruit, and many other fruits and vegetables. By harvesting their honey, we also get to enjoy the sweet products of their nectar-gathering labor. CUESA has collected some delicious tidbits to help you sweet talk like a honey connoisseur.

A Dry Year for Honey

When you think about the necessity of water in agriculture, fruit trees, row crops, and cattle probably come to mind, but you might not think about bees. As if honeybees and beekeepers didn’t have it hard enough these days, they face another challenge: drought.

CUESA’s Guide to Spring Greens

Spring is here, which means an explosion of all things green at the market. Although many greens can be found throughout the year, they are most abundant, lush, and tender in the spring, with over 40 types available, from spinach, arugula, and kale to nettles, cress, and pea shoots.

The True Cost of Asparagus

Local California asparagus farmers are concerned about competition from Mexican markets which can supply the vegetable year round and sell it at cheaper costs. Roscoe Zuckerman of Zuckerman Farms and Thaddeus Barsotti of Capay Organic discuss the situation.