Familiar Faces at in.gredients :: Jess M.
If you’ve spent any amount of time at the store, you’ll be familiar with this face. Jess, one of the assistant store managers, is always cool, calm and collected. She’s the kind of girl you want on your team, and we’re happy to have her as part of ours. It’s no surprise that she’s also amazingly talented, smart and worth getting to know… read up!
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in a rural neighborhood in central New Jersey. The kind of neighborhood that doesn’t have sidewalks, is surrounded by horses and farm markets, and walking to your friend’s house means trekking a few miles. I’m the youngest of all brothers so I spent most of the time mucking around our woods with them. Building tree forts and zip lines, catching salamanders, or clearing trails for motorcycle rides. Our mom wasn’t always thrilled when we’d come in with bloody body parts, but hey, at least we all got along, right?
I went to Rutgers and got a B.A. in Visual Arts, followed by a M.Ed from University of Maryland. Things organically changed for me in New Jersey and I felt it was time for me to figure out what I needed. I moved to Austin in 2010 as most of us do, to start a new chapter in my life and do some soul-searching. As expected it has become a place that fulfills me and continues to challenge me.
Why is sustainability important to you?
I feel like it’s time for us, as a society, to re-acquaint ourselves with the idea that we coexist with the earth, the earth is not here for us. Too often we take what we WANT, not what we need, and do this out of a place of entitlement, not gratitude. Choosing to be sustainable shows respect for your environment and for future generations.
Why do you love working at in.gredients?
It’s a place where people come together who have similar ideas and values and who are supportive of each other in the community. The employees and customers are both amazing. I can honestly say I’ve gained a lot of really meaningful people in my life by working here.
What is your vision for in.gredients, Austin and the WORLD when it comes to food? What does your ideal food system look like?
I hope that in.gredients changes the way people shop and make decisions about where their money goes. I hope that there is high demand for this concept and it influences vendors and distributors to offer bulk options and reduce packaging. I hope this helps us become more connected to our local and seasonal food production and how our purchases positively affect our communities.
What is your favorite dish to make?
Some of my favorite memories are making homemade food with my grandmother who we call “Baba”. She’s the type of lady who fills an entire dining room table with food even if it’s only three people. While I have my go-to dishes I make at home, I will always enjoy making halusky, vegetarian stuffed cabbage, and pierogies.
What three people would you want to have a dinner party with if you could (alive or dead)?
Jean Michel Basquiat, John Waters, Dalai Lama
I don’t even know what those three people would talk about… haha.
What would your last meal be?
A ridiculous amount of sushi.
If you were reincarnated as a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?
Any other fun things you want to tell us about yourself?
I know how to belly dance!