I graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2015 where I received my MA in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. My focus of study were the causes and effects of sex trafficking, specifically among women and children. I was sure that by now I would be working with an awesome non-profit, helping rehabilitate survivors. I did have the opportunity to intern with a non-profit in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I got to work one on one with survivors. I was also a caseworker for a brief period working with adults living with persistent mental illness. However, I found that I wasn’t happy in these positions. I had and have the tendency to carry the weight of people’s burdens and I didn’t agree with philosophy of pharmaceutical medicine and talk therapy as primary forms of mental care.
So how did I end up at CanIhaveabite? My interest in eating organic started when I learned that many mass produce distributors utilize labor trafficking in their farms to alleviate employment costs. This way, employers do not have to provide benefits, such as medical care- as their employees (harvesters) are undocumented, poor immigrants. Knowing that harvesters were getting infections from pesticides used on non-organic produce was problematic for me, so I chose organic as they don’t use the same pesticides. Concerns continued to grow, it became important to me to consume products, as best as I could, that had moral business practices; fair trade, organic, sustainable farming, proper worker compensation, etc.
When I was 21 I began struggling with depression and anxiety, and I used alcohol to cope. My relationships with others and myself began to falter… So, I took a step back and reflected on my life and self. I began taking anti-depressants and attending therapy, and it all helped. I was meditating, I had stopped drinking as much, I didn’t feel hopeless. Eventually though, I didn’t want to rely on anti-depressants to keep me level- I wanted to manage my depression and anxiety on my own. When I got to a place where I felt safe to do so and with my doctors advice, I weaned myself off of my medications.
This was a time in my life when I found yoga, Buddhism, and started working at Cafe Blackadder, a small cafe in Warrensburg, MO. Yoga and Buddhism truly helped me to find stillness and patience within myself and with others. Yoga and Buddhism helped me find peace with the anxiety I felt from the problems of the world and within myself and Cafe Blackadder ignited an interest in teas and food.
Fast-forward to today. I am still practicing yoga and am working toward receiving 200RYT certification. I have, temporarily, put down working with trafficking survivors and domestic/sexual violence survivors and have picked up learning more about food as medicine. CanIhaveabite? Is teaching me about business, food, herbs, and healing. My goals today are to integrate food, herbs, and yoga to create holistic healing and rehabilitation for survivors of trafficking and other survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I have a dream to open a plant nursery with a small cafe and employ trafficking and domestic and sexual violence survivors. My journey of emotional healing is constantly changing and my approach is always evolving. At this chapter in my life, I am exploring my love for cooking and bringing joy to those who try the flavors I create. Thankfully, CanIhaveabite? has provided me an outlet.