I decided to celebrate Non-GMO month in sort of a different way….by dedicating the entire month of October to my friend Tracy who lost her battle with cancer this past weekend on September 30, 2017. This is my non-GMO month dedication post for her.
Tracy was the owner of this gem of a coffee shop in my hometown Waseca, Minnesota, called The Daily Grind. It was kind of, sort of through there that we “met.”
On November 18, 2011, our friendship formed when I sent her this message:
Hi Tracy! I LOVE your coffee shop, The Daily Grind, in Waseca! It’s such a “treat” every time I come home. Hope you guys are doing great:)
She replied that very same day,
Sarah! Thank you so much. Things are going great! I love your posts and also LOVE Nutrition, Health, and Wellness. Huge passion of mine also. I have noticed you are studying nutrition. I started an online Master Program in Health and Nutrition Education through Hawthorn University in July. And, I am loving it. Hope to make some healthier changes to our DG menu in the future too:) If you ever have any suggestions for us, please let me know! Talk care Sarah, Tracy
The rest is history.
In all aspects of my business, I kept asking (and continue to ask), “what else is possible” because of Tracy. (From Tracy on March 11, 2015, “Keep saying ‘what else is possible’ and BIG things will continue to come your way!”)
Along with her, I started to truly ask questions about and grow in my thoughts and ideas around GMOs, organic, and real food.
In March of 2014, I published a blog post called Certified Gutsy. Immediately upon publishing it, Tracy messaged me,
Hello, Sarah! Read your certified gutsy blog! Great work!!! Just a suggestion…….NO GMOS ever and I agree with the organic statement EXCEPT that you could buy something NOT certified organic BUT you should KNOW the source and how they grow their food and if they practice organic growing methods it’s okay to not have certified organic. Organic IS going to be grown without pesticides/herbicides, etc. My two cents;) But yes, organic sugar is sugar:)
To which I responded,
Thanks! I have thought about BOTH of those points, actually:) The only problem with the GMO thing is that not every brand can afford to have their product certified that way, even though the product is non-GMO. For example, my nut butter line. I won’t have the money for awhile to do it, but yet, my sources are superior. I’m not sure how to address that? The same goes for Organic. The fees that are required for all those certifications are just rigid…
And we went back and forth on it for quite some time. The Non-GMO Project and GMOs in general were important to Tracy. Very important.
Ryan and I have not lived in Minnesota for almost 11 years, and yet, for me, the pipe dream was always to move back, plant roots there, and do amazing things with Tracy from a health, wellness, and spreading our passion dust for it all – in that little beloved town of Waseca.
We started those conversations back in 2014 when I first mentioned it.
March 4, 2014,
You are amazing, Tracy! When we find ourselves back there, I’d love to do some fun stuff with you. There are so many business things we could do.
She replied immediately,
YOU are amazing! And, I agree…….so many possibilities! I will e-mail you:)
She mentioned it again on July 26, 2014,
Good morning Sarah! I had a thought this morning! This week I’m going to start your Banana smoothie at the dg. You should maybe think of a way to provide a bulk container of your delicious peanut butter! Just a thought for ya! Have a beautiful weekend! Be proud of your accomplishments! I know how hard you’re working! And get back to MN so we can partner on some things and change the world!!! .
And then again on March 8, 2015, when she messaged me, “Move back home! I have lots of space….we can create a mindful co-packing facility .”
It never stopped, especially when I would go home for a few days at a time and we’d meet up for coffee at The Daily Grind. We’d sit at a table and chat for as long as we could, until of course, she had to resume her day, running all the businesses she did. (My connection with her was around food and The Daily Grind, but Tracy held accolades which extended far beyond this. She was the founder and CEO of ICAN MN and most recently started a Wellness Studio, Awaken Vibrance.)
Like myself, Tracy didn’t grow up with these passions. They came later in life, and like her, I thank God that I found them. In fact, The Daily Grind didn’t start as a place that sought to provide high-quality food. It wasn’t until May 12, 2014, when she messaged me, “Today I meet with our food rep to discuss converting the DG menu to local, organic, fresh! Exciting times!”
But from that moment on, she never looked back in providing the best for The Daily Grind and the community people who would come to enjoy food and drinks there.
When I went back home in September, my mom, mother-in-law, Maya and I went out for lunch there. I was so excited to see all the organic, non-GMO, and top-quality packaged-foods/pantry options + items that were stocked in the fridge and freezer (meats, bread, Kombucha, etc).
Non-GMO Month Dedication
This is a picture of Tracy and me from Expo West in 2015. She was so excited that year. Her passions for the industry were magnified, and then so was my desire to do incredible things with her back in the homeskillet.
Had I known then that I would be writing this today, I would have taken 500 more pictures that weekend, or during our coffee chats, or whenever.
I have 7 billion things on my plate currently, but for my Non-GMO month dedication to Tracy, I promise to:
- Update the Certified Gutsy post, including more information about GMOs.
- Update all current product posts labeled Certified Gutsy to make them relevant and up-to-date.
- Add at least one new Certified Gutsy product, making sure it’s something that The Daily Grind carries.
- Learn about butterflies (the Non-GMO symbol) because Tracy (along with her mother-in-law) loved them and all they signify.
I will maintain for the rest of my life that joining Tracy for these missions and our passions would have been the most incredible business adventure I might have ever taken.
And even though she is gone, I believe wholeheartedly that there are so many ways to keep her spirit and essence of who she was alive forever starting with passion and kindness and the core belief that life is good.
She wrote to me on August 19, 2013, “Life is A-Mazing!”
Yes, Tracy, it truly is.