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  • Writer's pictureSoDP

Let's Talk Fruits & Veggies, Shall We

My love for gardening began around Mother's Day 2013, when I purchased my 1st aeroponic vertical garden after hearing it was created by a former Disney cast member.

After several years of growing my business, selling and educating, I was called to the path I am currently on. The aeroponic vertical gardens have ALWAYS been a part of Spirit of Discovery Park, from the very first conversation with Wonderland Development Group through today, their purpose on our campus has grown (no pun intended) stronger and more prevalent.

Through the vast knowledge I continually seek out in the role as President of SoDP as well as the information I receive through conversations with those we will be serving, I realized, very early on, that this educational tool provides a healthy solution to so many and the main source of the solution- VEGGIES! Knowing this, I dove deeper into the various "trends" happening and sought out experts to help cut through all the nonsense and give it to me straight. Low and behold, I met a woman I simply can't get enough of; an entrepreneur, an author, a visionary, an amazing human, a riot, a creative mind, a BIG thinker, a doer, a kind heart, a passionate person, a straight-shooter, and.... a VEGAN! Knowledge oozes from this woman so have your pens and paper ready! She and I began talking about her TowerGarden that was prominently displayed in the picture window of her storefront and an hour plus later were talking MASSIVE ideas, all stemming around plants on plates! PLEASE, meet my friend and soon to be yours, Caryn Dugan, STL Veg Girl!

A brief history of why she became STLVegGirl and created a niche market with the Center for Plant Based Living, in her own words.

"In 2008 I lost my dad to cancer and exactly ten weeks later, I too, was diagnosed. This ultimately catapulted my desire to become "healthier". I stumbled upon science that showed a vegan diet, done correctly, offers health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reversing type II diabetes, reversing heart disease, and even shrinking many types of tumors. After years of research, we now know this list is much longer and people are continually getting off of medications they have been on for years and reversing bad health outcomes simply by adding more plants to their plates."

The Center for Plant Based Living offers both in-shop and virtual plant-based cooking classes. STL Veg Girl, Caryn, markets toward the plant-based "newbie' because she remembers just how confused, scared and lost she was when she started down the plant-based path. Caryn assures the community, "There's no reason for that now - we have the resources; the path and the support people need to begin healing when they are ready."

Caryn states, "all classes are currently demonstration style, meaning, I cook for you! Our shop holds up to 20 people and in each class, you sample all the recipes I make and take the recipes home with you as well. During the demo I educate you on the health benefits of the foods being cooked and you'll learn tips/techniques on how to cook the ingredients. I love the in-shop classes because it offers everyone the opportunity to meet others who are on this path. We also offer virtual classes that are super fun because I encourage attendees to cook along with me. When class is over, dinner through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, enjoying each other's company and the lavish food and drinks being served, KNOW that if and when you are ready to dive into the new year on a more "leafy" path, you have options. Honest. Down-to-Earth. Sustainable options in our very own, STL Veg Girl and SoDP! Until next time, Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!

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