We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Groebner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, what are you inspired by?
I am inspired by our community and my wonderful team. Every day I find inspiration and awe in the resilience, dedication, creativity, resourcefulness, integrity, generosity, and love that these folks bring to the world.
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?
Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is a nonprofit located in National City, CA focused on inspiring healthy communities. We have a beautiful 8-acre property with gardens and a teaching kitchen where we provide programs for nutrition, healthy cooking, food access, environmental science, sustainable urban agriculture, job skills, leadership development, and community building. Olivewood has evolved over the years from a purely education-based nonprofit, to one that addresses food justice in multiple ways including food access, advocacy, and economic development. Where we are and where we are going is an ever-evolving, community-informed process that incorporates feedback from all of our stakeholders to ensure we live into our core values of equity, community, health, integrity, and transformation. This work is not easy. We are focused on changing entrenched inequitable systems, on providing our community with tools and resources to lead change, and making health accessible to everyone. Challenges come in many forms – from limited resources to political environment – and we overcome them through our fierce commitment to our community, to equity, and to each other. I am so incredibly proud of our evolution and our dedication to stepping up to what our community asks for. So many lessons learned – the importance of strong relationships for successful collaborations, learning to say no to avoid mission creep, keeping communication open and transparent particularly during this time when we are not all in the same physical space, approaching our work from an asset perspective, and many more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Assuming we are in a post-Covid world… Food/drink: Brew Bar in Chula Vista for coffee & tea-infused brews and vegan breakfast, Blind Lady Alehouse for the vibes and tasty farm-to-table food, Citrina’s Berry Fresh for the best tortas and smoothies, Lola 55 for tasty tacos and margs, Muzitas Abyssinian Bistro for delicious Eritrean/Ethiopian food, Machete Beerhouse for atmosphere and beers Outdoors: Los Peñasquitos Canyon, backside of Cowels Mtn, Torrey Pines State Beach, Olivewood (of course!), Balboa Park, Mission Beach Sites/experiences: local festivals if there are any going on (eg. Adam’s Ave Street Fair or the South Bay Brews & Spirits Festival). Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, local farms Night Life: Sevilla Bachata Tuesdays, barleymash
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! I want to dedicate this to the amazing Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center team. These folks are incredible – my inspiration, my friends, my family, my teachers.
Mary Ann Beyster