From cyberspace to the "roots"
Cactus. What comes to mind? Perhaps a hot, arid environment? Reality is that they occur anywhere where the natural condition might be described as one of privation – a state in which things that are essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking. I’ll get to Cactus shortly, but first, about the journey…
Through a myriad of ups and downs in life, it was a philosophical journey that began in 2016 that took me to my roots and down the path of meditation, introspection, contemplation. I was beginning to love the basics of life – spending time with family and close friends, try new experiences that allowed me to discover and/or uncover my innate human abilities and tune my instincts (learning to sail is no joke!), and tasting the ridiculously amazing plant-based interpretations of foods that I had never tried before, even though I was a vegetarian all my life!
It was the same year (2016) when I was at my sister and brother-in-law’s home, where my niece and nephew were getting noticeably “hangry”. As we were looking for options for “crave-worthy” vegetarian options, it became quickly apparent that this was an issue! On a related note… since I grew up surrounded by “crave-worthy” vegetarian and plant-based foods, healthy yet flavorful foods became so normal that I was oblivious to it – until the call came for my Mom to become the Executive Chef for a Head of State! Seeing Mom in action demonstrated how resilient, adaptable and conservationist she is – similar characteristics to the people in the food system, and also attributes of the cactus plant! This is when I discovered just how lucky I was, and also how limited crave-able plant-based food options were...and that’s when the seed for “Cactus” was planted!
Going back to [business] school, my curiosity grew about concerns not only regarding the access to flavorful, healthy food, but also about the larger question of how the billions of people who share this planet can be fed in a sustainable, conscious manner. Drawing from learnings and perspectives gained, I started working on a system (named for the resilient cactus) that could address this problem with plant-based meals, all with the focus that substance (i.e., flavorful, delicious) and purpose (i.e., healthy, societally beneficial) absolutely need to come together to scale trust in the food system.
In May 2022, I received a resounding message from the universe telling me that I was on the right path. In this case, the message was conveyed loud and clear by Dr. Miroslava Nikolova in the form of the [delayed] Class of 2020 Graduate School Ceremony as part of Brown University’s 254th Commencement speech! The symbolism was just too profound!
“The [saguaro] cactus is a symbol of perseverance, but also one of immense potential to do good and to positively impact every creature in its ecosystem… It is dedicated and patient – it grows slowly.” ~Dr. Miroslava Nikolova
Combining my passion of discovering, exposing, and amplifying crave-worthy plant-based interpretations to the world with my experience in building trusted systems in cyber space to protect the integrity of the organizations small and large, Cactus is on a mission to build bridges that connects everyone with foods that have substance and purpose (i.e., crave-worthy plant-based foods)!
I am beyond excited to bring #craveworthy #plantbased experiences to the world because delicious foods can make "hangry" moods melt away! ;)
Founder of Cactus Holding Corporation