I made this blog to help people become aware of their choices. I provide resources and links to articles, studies, books, and documentaries if you’re interested in educating yourself on health and nutrition, sustainability, and the ethical reasons for veganism. I’m also showcasing food that promotes healthful, mindful, & conscious living. You can find info for cooking plant-based and vegan food at home, eating out in global cities, and traveling while vegan. Read Interviews that I conduct with movers and shakers in nutrition, sustainability, and conscious and compassionate living. Check out my story on Crohn’s Disease, and follow my adventures trying farm to table, and reflecting and absorbing experiences as they come. And if you’re interested, you can find resources on how to go vegan and plant-based.
- Since getting diagnosed with Crohn’s and changing my diet, I’ve had countless people referred to me through the grapevine. More often than not, I am telling others what I have done to take my health into my own hands. As I continue to find fulfillment in not just eating delicious foods but happiness as the cognitive dissonance from supporting industries I don’t believe with, more and more people want to know about how I live and what I eat. Over the last two years, I’ve gathered together tons of resources for others, and I figured it’d be amazing to have them up publicly to help anyone who needs it. And of course dispel the myth that vegans have nothing to eat! If you want to do it, you can do it (with the help of others for support & education, which is where I come in).
- Originally, I was planning on just creating a website that had oil-free vegan eats in various cities. There are tons of websites to find vegan food almost anywhere you go, but since I eat whole food plant-based and I’m extremely sensitive to oil, I’ve had a bit of a harder time finding places in cities I travel to. And of course, in my favorite places, they’ve made awesome accommodations for me that I wanted to share with others who might avoid oil for a healthier lifestyle or diet. However, while spending the summer in Israel, I thought I was going to be applying for a Fulbright/National Geographic scholarship, and as I started to do lots of research on the different doctors and leaders shaping the plantbased nutrition healthcare movement around the world, or food as medicine, I realized that so many people were willing to talk with me. And not only was I dying to talk to them, but I realized I want to show the world what they are doing, I want to show my community, my peers, what these leaders are doing. Maybe I spend my time looking up research, but for others, maybe this blog will show them the kinds of movers and shakers who are changing up the idea of conscious living, human health, and environmental health. I believe these are the people who we are going to have to thank for the continued existence of our planet, so we should know and be inspired by what they are doing!
- And, I have a lot to say. I always have. With graduating, I’m starting to realize that I’m not the only one who feels perpetually lost, extremely motivated, and desiring more out of life in certain ways. I want to showcase my road to creating a life with balance, my adventures gardening, trying to travel, trying to combine my passions and find what works for me.
Give others who are looking the resources they need or desire to become more conscious and literate consumers. Change someone’s perspective.
What’s in the name?
Let me break it down for you.
First: 2 of my favorite films are The Graduate (1967) and Garden State (2004). Both are about characters at liminal moments in their lives, trying to explore themselves, explore others. I see so much of me, so much of my soul, so much of my love and pain and desire, in both Benjamin and Largeman. And even though I won’t always be a graduate right out of college, I feel that this stage in your life lasts forever in different ways. I’m not searching for one answer that’s going to make me feel like an adult, I’m always going to be searching.
Second: I grew up in New Jersey, the garden state! I’m Garden-Based/New Jersey Based, living in California and traveling all over. But my Jersey girl roots are very strong- they are the foundation of who I am.
Third: I’m plant-based. I eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. Garden based is a take off of plant-based, as in vegan eating. However, Garden-Based also means where I’m trying to get my vegetables from. As I try to become more and more sustainable, one of the things I’ll be trying to learn how to do is garden: grow my own fruits and veggies! So I’m not just plant-based, I’ll be trying to eat lots more food locally grown from my own garden.
Fourth: The movie references combined with my passion for eco-conscious and plant-based living speaks to my confusion, dilemma, and perpetual anxieties with combining the things I’m most passionate for. My film degree taught me how to critically think- critical thinking and questioning how we live brought me to veganism. Understanding movies are a way to understand life. Analyzing movies and analyzing life situates me in perpetual nostalgia, and looking back at memories is the place I’m in right now (and will likely always be). Nostalgia exists because of my desire to feel connected to time and places. Food and eating is way to feel connected to others and yourself.
Fifth: The Graduate is a movie that is revered and celebrated by audiences everywhere for the past 50 years, the same can not be said about Garden State. Garden State was appreciated when it was made, but it has received a ton of back-lash over the years. Though I agree that much of it is legitimate, it doesn’t change how much I have always loved and related to the movie. Loving film does not equate pretentiousness or following the trends or critics. I will always celebrate classic movies and ‘bad’ movies alike. This desire for authenticity and being proud of what I like is something I hope to communicate with this blog.
Pre-Mood Board Stage:
I don’t remember when I came up with the name ‘The Garden Based Graduate’, but I know I was thinking along the lines of clever movie puns. As a post-grad cinema major, I am not ready to leave my degree and love of film behind, even though I have decided to pursue a path outside of the conventional Hollywood route. ‘Garden Based’ made sense for me, as described above, as well as ‘Graduate’. When thinking about the logo visually, I knew I wanted it to be as visually close to the classic movie titles as possible. I liked the idea of some sort of visual design in addition to the words, and I’ve always loved license plates: they’re authentic, lived in, and have journeyed miles with owners, being there for the memories, carrying the energy and spirit of connections and a life lived. Since I don’t know where I’m going, I liked the idea of a license plate saying ‘no idea’.
These are more movie posters that I wanted to draw inspiration from, whether visually or the spirit of the movie. I also love ‘Mortified’ (check it out if you haven’t heard of them) and everything their brand stands for. As a podcast, live storytelling events, multiple shows, and a documentary, the brand is known for it’s authenticity, nostalgia, and being able to laugh at your past by ‘sharing the shame’.
This inspires me because authenticity is so important to me, and as I’m at a point in my life when looking forward is exciting but a little too daunting, I’m kind of feeling a lot of feelings while looking back. I’m enjoying looking back at memories, and this will come through in the food that I write about.
I love the vintage/ nostalgia feel/ and was interested in images that look like old polaroids or photos being pasted down with tape or film reels. One challenge I ran into was how do you make photos look nostalgic/blurry/cinematic while still making them look appetizing? I’ve settled on the idea of clear pictures and hopefully text that elicits nostalgia whenever authentic.
I then created a pinterest board with more of the same pictures, and wrote thousands of words on Google Docs where one of my very best friends gave me some great feedback (hey Alexis 😉 ).
Eventually, I created a rough logo that I actually loved because it was so close to the movie titles.
I stuck with it while I created content, and then Alexis told me I should look into changing it. She started creating some things for me to look at while on Skype. These are some of the different logos we had.
It’s hard to pick my favorite colors: as I love forest green, ocean blue, magenta, and a tomato red. I couldn’t decide if I wanted my favorite colors, or colors that were reminiscent of plants (deep purple for beats, orange for sweet potatoes, green for acorn squash, yellow for corn). Then, we started thinking about using wood behind the logo, as I LOVE reclaimed wood (my bed and my desk are both different types of reclaimed wood from craigslist #upcycle!). After she said that, I thought about the Camp Deka sign from my cinematic arts fraternity.
I realized that I probably wouldn’t like the look of anything that wasn’t kind of ‘real’, and that I should take a photo of my reclaimed wooden headboard with twinkle lights strung out on top of it (I have lights hanging on my bed and in my head, the lights make the brand seem more modern and urban and less rustic as I don’t want people to think my blog is only for those who have access to farm land or something), but I didn’t want to wait until I was back in California with my good camera to take the picture.
Then, I decided to create a logo that had the wooden background with lights just to test it out on the blog since I was nervous the brown wood would make the logo stand out too much. I was right that I wouldn’t like it standing out- I wanted a logo with a white background that would allow the background to blend right in.
After nixing the wood idea, I downloaded Illustrator and (very unsuccessfully) tried to teach myself how to trace and color the text. You can see there is some green and red around the blue letters there.
While trying not to get caught up on my crappy mock-up, I added a piece of mint which I love and a polaroid of a beautiful flower I saw in Pacific Palisades last year.
After staring at this for a little and looking on a ton of other food blogs, I realized the bright colors, big text, and pictures of vegetables is truly not me. I can’t just pick colors because they are reminiscent of vegetables: my FOOD pictures will give the blog color and my words and thoughts will give the blog LIFE.
In my bedroom, my room is mainly very simple with reclaimed wooden furniture, in addition to the bursts of color by the bright green wooden bookcase I got from my craigslist, a Tibetan prayer flag, and a few posters on the wall. My love of colors made me think I needed this in my logo- love of color will be shown in the food.
Simplicity and minimalism is way more my stream, and I wanted something subdued that I won’t get sick of.
I ultimately decided, though I liked trying to get it look like the movies, the name is a nod to the movies and most wouldn’t have even recognized the fonts as being the same as the two movies I picked them from.
And cool enough, I decided to go with my original idea of a polaroid pic (vintage, nostalgic, film appreciation) and of nature.
In Summer 2017, this blog was born.