A growing network of community members is powering Rooted Santa Barbara – lets meet the team! Each month we’re highlighting a new member of our Rooted community to introduce who they are, why they are passionate about plant-based nutrition, and how they’re helping us to fuel our work to optimize our communities’ health through the power of plants.

Meet Sam! She joined the Rooted Steering Committee (now Board) in December of 2019 and is our team’s lead Marketing Consultant. She helps Rooted create and share information with our Santa Barbara County neighbors and is wrapping up our marketing plan to help us reach our 2021 and 2022 goals!

Sam has worked in content marketing for over 12 years and has a rich history working with both non-profit and educational institutions. She enjoys helping the Rooted team reach as many neighbors with whole-food plant-based nutrition information.

Sam and her husband moved to Santa Barbara in 2018 and they are loving the sand, the sun, the mountains, and especially the longest peach seasons they’ve ever experienced.

What inspired your passion for plant-based nutrition?

In 2011, my mother-in-law made two delicious holiday meals 100% plant-based. I remember feeling satisfied, but not as stuffed and uncomfortable as in past years. I thought “we can eat like this all the time.” I started looking up recipes and reading books about nutrition, and I was in. Most of our family still eats whole-food plant-based every day!

Is this passion purely personal or also related to your profession?

I have other interests that match my whole-food plant-based lifestyle. Sustainability, living kindly, and community health are all very important to our family. Given my knowledge of plant-based living, I’ve looked for more clients that are focused on plants, too! It’s been fulfilling to pull the passion and profession together in recent years.

Where do you see the plant-based movement heading in the coming years?

It seems to be growing, and that is exciting! I would like to see more focus on whole plant foods and less focus on which fast food chain is carrying Beyond Burger or how valuable their company is. Either way, any conversation about eating more plants is important.

What was one of the challenges of making the shift, and how did you overcome it?

Just learning the dos and don’ts felt a little big, but Google was my best friend. I didn’t have any community support outside of my family at first, so I sought out new groups and friends to talk to about food and nutrition.

What do you wish more people knew about a plant-based diet?

That for many people, it’s more attainable to eat this way than it seems. You can save money by avoiding processed foods and sticking to the grains, beans, and produce sections at the market.

What advice would you give someone looking to be more plant-forward? 

Don’t worry about getting it right from the beginning – just start! Find little hacks to sneak extra veggies into your meals, (like I do) and most importantly: be kind to yourself. Never beat yourself up for making a mistake, just do your best and you’ll start to feel your best!

For a full list of our Rooted team, please visit our Collaborators page!

Supporting Our Work – We’re currently an all-volunteer organization and we see incredible room and need to grow over the coming year. We understand that this time has enormous challenges for everyone, so while we’ll be seeking support to help roll our vision forward, we’re also thinking creatively to keep our costs low to efficiently build resources and deliver programming at low to no cost to our community. If you’d like to support our work, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to one of our giving programs through our community partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation!

Photo Credit: Kristen Weiss