We had the good fortune of connecting with Diego Esparza and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diego, why did you pursue a creative career?
I remember spending my summers in Mexico and spending hours on end with my grandfather. My grandfather would share stories with us about his experiences in life. He was the best storyteller I had ever heard, always adding details that made you feel as though you were right there with him.

Summers would end, and I would fly back to California, I would often find myself missing him. Naturally, I decided to start taking up the art of storytelling as a way to connect with him. Taking up any opportunity to share a story with friends or family to practice everything I had learned from observing him. Gradually, I started picking up his mannerisms, his charisma, and way of hooking people into the story.

Local Grown Stories originated from that love and appreciation for storytelling. Storytelling is a way to connect people, a way to bridge even the most polarized individuals. My cofounder and I decided to connect with local businesses to hear their stories and share their experiences to our community.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Local Grown Stories is a storytelling platform that connects our community with the journey’s of local entrepreneurs. We started LGS as a way to give back to our community in San Diego. Over the past year we have connected with over eighty entrepreneurs that have shared their stories with us. Stories that inspire us to continue pursuing our passions, continue growing and giving back to our community. That is why our three pillars are passion, growth, and community, these pillars have interlinked the community we built at Local Grown Stories.

Omar and I had talked about starting this project back in 2019, but the opportunity did not present itself. We had just graduated from UCSD and were both pursuing careers in completely different fields, me (Diego) in teaching, and Omar in Medical School. But COVID brought us back home to San Diego, where we decided to launch LGS in May 2020.

Our launch wasn’t easy, fear of failure, perfectionism, and doubt held us back to a certain degree. However, as soon as we did our first interview with ‘Al Foron’, those doubts subsided. We realized the best way to challenge those fears was to just start and learn on the way. Omar and I would talk about what went well and what we could improve on next time. In order to improve our interviewing skills and build our skills as journalists and writers.

Along the way, we have learned to stop doubting ourselves and embrace discomfort. We have recognized that growth can only happen if you make space for growing pains. We learned these lessons along the way, sometimes through our own mistakes, but more often via lessons local business owners have taught us themselves.

In life, we can learn from others mistakes so that we don’t have to make them ourselves. Storytelling has always been a way older generations passed down knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. This is what we aim to share with our community. We hope to inspire our community to collect their own stories, whether that’s asking your local entrepreneurs for their experiences or someone in your family. We hope our journey inpsires you to collect your own tales.

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?
This is a tough one, so many local spots hold a special place in my heart! But I’d say I would definitely have to take my friends out for some amazing coffee and bites at Jaunt Coffee Roasters.

After that we’d enjoy incredible views up in Mt. Soledad, we’d then go over to ‘Al Foron’ for some delicious Lebanese cuisine.

For some afternoon drinks, we’d have to stop at ‘Hopnonymous’ for their delicious beers and incredible vibes, and perhaps do some brewery hopping around the city.

I’d show them around downtown, pop by at ‘Pop Pops Paletas’ for some amazing Mexican style paletas and have some delicious Italian food for dinner!

One week wouldn’t be enough time to show them around properly, but we’d definitely make the most of it by popping by at several of the places we’ve interviewed and connected with!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shoutout to my mentor, Michael Cox, from BlackSDMagazine. Michael Cox has given us the tools and wisdom to grow our project. His support has allowed us to learn so much about running and growing your own publication. We are extremely thankful for him and would like to give him a shoutout!

Website: www.localgrownstories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/localgrownstories/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/local-grown-stories

Twitter: https://twitter.com/localgrownstory

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/localgrownstories

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0kC51z3nF1E81VJzvfrZTA/videos

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.