The EcoGrrl Interview: Abby



Abby is one of my heroes in the Portland nonprofit community.  As founder of The Portland Kitchen, she is building an amazing culinary after-school program “providing high school youth the business skills and nutritional education needed to budget, plan and prepare for life.”  What I love about the program is that it combines a greater understanding of our food systems with hands-on job skills and mentoring of youth.  Check out their website to make a donation or get involved – the program kicks off this fall!

What or who inspires you most? Individuals who persevere.

What do you turn to when you need strength? My husband: the wisest businessman I know!

How can women best support and/or empower other women? Be humble and authentic in every circumstance.

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Hot peppers. The Herrera garden of 2009 had 12 different varieties. I’d love to grow heirloom tomatoes in the future.

What are your creative outlets? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t? Cooking is my most enjoyable outlet.  In high school I sewed; I hope to pick this hobby up again.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? Nothing beats cuddling with my six year-old while we watch NOVA.

Who are your top three nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?

  1. The Portland Kitchen – I volunteer and donate with The Portland Kitchen because Portland needs a free, comprehensive culinary after-school program for its high school students.

  2. Big Brothers Big Sisters – I work for them because our volunteers help youth realize their potential.

  3. Planned Parenthood – I support them because healthcare is a right.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? What’s next? At home I am working to reduce our food waste by freezing more and repurposing leftovers. Not buying/accumulating “things” is an on-going aspiration.

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary? Why? Anyplace where there is no wireless connection or cellular service. I have my eyes on a spot outside of La Pine, OR for my next family vacation.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Focus on math and science.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? We need to monetarily incentivize change.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues? What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? Fast Food Nation changed my life seven years ago. Everyday food choices impact so many societal issues. My first “eco” endeavor was recycling cans; there’s money and impact to be made!

How do you live simply? I’m not sure if I do! Although being an entrepreneur and working mom has cut out almost all unnecessary activities and use of funds!

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” ~ Oscar Wilde


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