We had the good fortune of connecting with JL Fields and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JL, what do you attribute your success to?
It’s 100% driven by passion. I became a vegan educator because I’m an ethical vegan. When I created my business plan, it was – and still is – a hybrid between fee-based work and volunteering. I created and produce vegan events as a volunteer because I want to create a vegan world. I also teach cooking classes and write cookbooks to help create that world and to be compensated for my time so that I can keep volunteering. On any given day my activities blur together and it’s not entirely clear when it’s a volunteer hour or a professional hour. It doesn’t matter. The mission’s the same and both efforts further my personal and professional goals.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a cookbook author, culinary instructor, chef consultant, and health coach. On the surface, nothing terribly different from what others are doing. I do think my model is a bit different. As a vegan in a small city, I crave a vegan community. As a professional, I provide vegan educational opportunities but I think my impact as a volunteer is more widely known, specifically producing seasonal vegan markets and the annual Vegan Restaurant Week. My vegan business promotes these efforts and these volunteer efforts promote my business. This allows me to live, work, and breathe my ethics and on any given day it’s hard to know when I’m volunteering, and when I’m earning revenue. And I like that.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let’s have a day full of food and fitness! For a super-cliche start, a beautiful walk/hike in the Garden of the Gods. Followed by brunch at Adam’s Mountain Cafe. Now we’re going to really hike: Section 16 (Palmer Loop). And then off to Santana’s Vegan Grill for lunch. We earned it. Time for some of my favorite breweries: Trinity, Red Leg, and Local Relic. Well, we’ve already had a few beers so we might as well keep it going and go to the all-vegan dive bar The Burrowing Owl for specialty cocktails and vegan bar food.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Two women had a huge influence on me. Virginia Messina, a respected dietitian and RD invited me to co-author a book when I was a “baby blogger’. And then, because I was new to the whole vegan thing, I enrolled in Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan Academy certificate program. That’s how this whole thing started!
©Allison Daniell Moix, Stellar Propeller Studio