In my life, I have had the luxury of living in two contrasting paradises – the dry, Coachella Valley desert and the lush, tropical island of Kauai.
One important part of my life has been working on my family’s organic farm. When I was a freshman, my parents bought a piece of land and a house on Hanalei Beach, which we moved into that summer. It was love at first sight. Every morning, my dad, my brother and I would drive out to our property, where I worked planting starter seeds in our newly built greenhouse. My job, although mundane, was quite meditative, and I found joy in envisioning the succulent fruits and vegetables that would eventually grow from seeds the size of ants. I cared for these plants for fourteen months until my parents decided to move back to California to care for my ailing grandparents, leaving my brother to manage the farm during our absence. When we returned to Kauai the following year, I was astounded by how much our farm had grown. Instead of planting seeds, I was harvesting the fruits of my labor.
During this process, I became increasingly aware of the foods I ate and how I nurtured myself. I became an influence on my parents, particularly my father who has Type 2 diabetes. Since he has asked me to cook for him, his blood sugar levels have dropped into a healthy zone, confirming my belief that the root of health is natural, organic food.