Diana Andrew of
Food Forests of the World
We had the opportunity to sit down with one of our ONDA community members, Diana Andrew, to talk about her new nonprofit, Food Forests of the World, and why she decided to ditch the conventional to reclaim her health and cultivate a community surrounding education, gardens for food forests, honest conversation, and sustainable change.
Who was the first person to inspire you?
Mi mamá. She left her home country of El Salvador at the age of 19 with my father during the 1980s and is the true definition of resilience and survival for me. She instilled the Salvadoran culture heavily in her children because she feels it is important for us to stay connected to our roots. Even when we are far away.
To this day, though not having the privilege to visit just yet, I am proud of our culture. I feel as if I’m in little El Salvador whenever we make pupusas in the kitchen, dance to our cumbias and through the stories she tells about the times she climbed mango trees to eat all of the mangos she wanted in the middle of a finca.
She’s one of the reasons I began my nonprofit. To bring the same energy and environment to gatherings with others while sharing our culture. Her selflessness inspires me to think about my community first and what I can do for them. This is especially relevant with the little children – who look like me – at the southern border, suffering and being displaced. Their identities and cultures being lost with Mothers like my own sacrificing their lives to provide a better life for their children. They do this so that we can be here, to be a part of the change for years to come.
What inspired and lead you to start a nonprofit? Who are you inspiring now?
There are so many reasons I’m going through this process. About three years ago, my friends had a Meetup group here in Los Angeles that held small garden events. While hosting just a handful, their vision had so much potential. When they decided to step away to pursue building their tiny home, I knew I had to continue this project. My life as I knew it changed drastically due to these newfound revelations; connecting with the land, being in a community, and having profound conversations while sharing fresh, healthy food.
My hopes are to inspire as many people as possible. From children to baby boomers. This nonprofit is inclusive of everybody with the intention of opening dialogue across the board. I notice that anyone I come in contact with since starting this project react with a sense of urgency and curiosity. Through them, I feel my own urgency to push forward.
How is it being a woman running your own nonprofit?
Being a disabled, first-generation WOC millennial from Inglewood trying to launch a nonprofit has been… quite interesting to say the least. After working years for corporate companies and coming out of one of the most male-driven industries, automotive specifically, I learned early on my supposed role in the world and just how my own existence threatens others.
I have a different type of resilience that has carried me to do things that doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to do.
Now that I’m running this nonprofit, I am more than ready to create systems that will withstand for decades to come. Although having no degree in business and starting from scratch in a new industry has been challenging, it is still the most rewarding experience of my life. I finally feel I’m on the right path with the right people.
Any other challenges you are overcoming in starting your nonprofit?
A challenge I overcame was to stay strong enough in the jobs I had in order to fund the startup process. I also did a rebrand.
I ran the nonprofit under Food Forests of Los Angeles for about two years, but after traveling for the first time across the country and being on a farm and vineyard, I learned that there is so much more work to do. It’s going to take everyone. So I finally gathered enough money to incorporate the nonprofit officially under Food Forests of the World late last year. I am also living humbly so that this concept can exist and stay alive for years to come.
What lead you to try CBD?
I mentioned before that I’m disabled. Seventeen years ago, at the age of 12, I was diagnosed with polyarticular JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis). Then Fibromyalgia at the age of 21.
I was placed under a number of medications from low-doses of chemotherapy to biologic medications which were newer on the market at the time. I became a guinea pig.
While some medications failed me, others made me feel like I didn’t have the diseases, to begin with. Then a week would pass and the pain would return. The first four years were the roughest. The reason it was a dark period is that that was life before I knew what cannabis would do for my body.
Sixteen and rebellious, I decided to inhale cannabis. It was right after the first initial hit that I felt a wave of relief come over my entire body. It was the first time I had actual relief without nasty side effects.
My journey with cannabis continues to this day. Only now, with the newfound legal transparency in the California market, have I begun experimenting with different products to see what works. Before the market was legal, it was as if I was experimenting aimlessly. This is the bittersweet part of the story.
I spent years suffering so much more than I do now, spending large amounts of money trying to wean myself off all medications. With the constant stress of trying to feel good enough to go to work and spending that same money to find relief, bills, and rent, added to the pressure. I couldn’t afford to guess anymore.
Have you explored other CBD brands prior to trying ONDA?
Three years ago, I took the plunge toward detoxing from my medications. Finally, after suffering severe anxiety attacks, in recent months I made the decision to invest in my health. It took a couple of brands to go through before I came across ONDA Wellness. I was desperate because I was considering not driving anymore and was about to fight to get disability. That is until I took that first dropper from ONDA. I haven’t looked back.
Working in the cannabis industry, I have tried so many other CBD brands from hard candies to whole flower and tinctures. I learned that many of them disturb the plant through extraction methods. I’m not a big fan of anything that is overly processed and am looking for methods of ingestion without smoking it. It’s also good to note that everybody’s body is different and what works for me may not work for others. I’ve accustomed my body to receive minimally processed food and have seen positive results in my pain levels. There are CBD companies that remove the THC, which in my personal opinion may be doing a disservice to their consumers. I feel first hand the effects of products with and without those traces of THC.
I’m all about good ethics and values in businesses. So, when learning the stories of the ONDA team to understand why they grow their hemp on regenerative and biodynamic farms, I knew this was a rare company doing things the right way. Not taking any shortcuts. This industry is saturated with new companies and now more than ever these companies need to walk the walk!
What about ONDA stands out to you?
These are the reasons why ONDA makes a difference for me and has kept me as a loyal customer:
- The way the whole plant is preserved into the oil is where I feel the difference in my body.
- Where the hemp is grown. Since studying about regenerative agriculture and biodynamic farming, I understand how important it is to have the proper environment for all the of the living elements to thrive in.
- In comparison to the other oils that I have worked with, seeing the chlorophyll of the plant in the final product is something that I haven’t seen before. Most oils I’ve come across are very light in color.
In all of my years of taking medications, the wait for something that works has ended. I can whole-heartedly say that I’m regenerating my body and am looking forward to catching up with the same pastimes I did as a child. I feel confident again to live my life without restrictions. I feel a higher quality of life.
Would you recommend ONDA to a friend?
I’d absolutely recommend ONDA all day! As a matter of fact, people know me for having my bottle in my purse everywhere with me! I seriously can’t stop talking about it and constantly give information to others that are chronically ill or have cancer. This is where I know my own purpose. This alignment with ONDA couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Thank you for reading along. For more of Diana and her garden school projects, follow her Food Forest of the World page on Instagram. And as a major thank you to Diana, enjoy 15% off all ONDA products by using code FOODFOREST15 at checkout.
Do you have an ONDA story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org