Food has always been an important part of my life. I grew up surrounded by a family of wonderful home cooks, sharing recipes passed down from generations. I was taught from a young age to eat nutritiously and appreciate every meal from seed to plate. As a child I would ask for kitchen tools as gifts in order to experiment with cooking. I was known to torture my parents by playing endless rounds of restaurant and grocery checkout (both roles which I have now fulfilled professionally). Best of all, I loved learning from my family and observing how food brings people together.
When I was in high school I read the book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. It changed my entire world view and opened my eyes to an unknown world of modern day food production. I was devastated to read about the horrible conditions in factory farms. Those images both haunt and motivate me to this day. My true food journey transpired once I read Schlosser’s book. I changed parts of my lifestyle to better fit my food values and to support a sustainable food movement. Since then I have surrounded myself with food culture and attempted to learn as much as can through a multitude of media. My journey has led me from dining hall dishwasher to restaurant management and everything in between. I have evolved, taking on new roles and feeling confident enough to teach others. It has led me to dedicate my life to helping people through food. Over time I realized that many people don’t have the opportunity to obtain nutritious food, or barely food at all, like I did. I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up with the privilege that I have but that’s not enough. I want to leave this world knowing that I tried to make it better and that everyone has the right and means to nutritious, sustainable food.
I have learned a tremendous amount from my retail positions in food and understand the important role they play in our food system. They have the power to change the way people buy and think. I have also seen the vast inequities and shortcomings that they carry. It has caused me to rethink my role in the food movement and seek out professions that are more in line with a food justice model. I recently moved to New York because it is a hub of growing businesses and innovation, I knew Brooklyn would be the challenging, creative space that I needed to build the next chapter of my food journey.
I want the next step in my food journey to be a place of tremendous growth and learning. I started taking classes, volunteering weekly at a soup kitchen, networking, going to community dinners that discuss social issues, just to name a few. I feel that in order to be effective in the food movement, I have to really listen to the needs of my community. I want to learn how to truly help people and be a leader in the sustainable food movement. My dream is to one day have my own community space where people can learn about, grow and eat amazing food. Nothing makes me happier than bringing people together through food.
Now my passion has directed my attention to my true home, Cleveland, OH. I grew up in Cleveland and always had a pride for the city despite many times it being a running joke. Cleveland is a place that I have deep ancestral and personal connections with and thus the perfect place for me to continue my pursuit in food justice and sustainable agriculture. I can't wait to see what "Believeland" has in store for me now.