Welcome to our new column, Botanica World, in which we interview our favorite creative women about inspiration, sustainability, business, and social distancing for public health.
The objective of this series is to bring some positive content to the social media space.
Artists and creators have always persevered and thrived even in times of adversity, and we wanted to check in with our community to share experiences- we are all in this together.
Saehee Cho, Writer & Cook
Soon, Los Angeles
In this article, Saehee wears organic cotton Kaja Rib Dress in Petal.
Where have you found inspiration in 2020?
In the last couple months I’ve been inspired and encouraged by all the gestures of generosity and kindness I’ve witnessed. There are so many ways in which we can close down and become selfish in moments of crisis and I’m truly seeing the opposite out in the world. Among friends, there are constant exchanges of concern and care. Even among strangers, at the farmers’ market or on the road, people feel more courteous to me, more conscious that we’re all in this together.
What does sustainability mean to you or your business? What systems have you implemented to prioritize sustainability?
Sustainability is at the center of my work! Working in food right now means having to address how broken our food supply chain is. We’ve been trained as a culture to expect on-demand ingredients that look like they’ve been vacuum sealed into perfection. I think the scarcity of food that a lot of us have never had to address is bringing home the fact that a simple dinner salad is actually a very complicated thing. Food and resources are finite and while we may have known that in the abstract, feeling absence on our plates is a different kind of reality. It’s so valuable to understand how food gets to your table--it changes the way you eat, it changes the way you consume in general.
Who are the women in your community that inspire you? Do you have a mentor?
Everyday I’m amazed by my friends. Designers like you, Jujumade, Black Crane, and Goodfight have not only donated masks to me but also have reached out to donate masks to local farm workers.
I’m inspired by Robbie of Underwood Farms and Marcie of Jimenez Farms, both women, both boss ladies at their respective farms. These women work HARD and I can feel how much they care about their team.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career? How did you approach it?
I think a lot of small business owners can relate but it’s been a challenge to accept that not everything works, some things will just fall apart as hard as you try and even with the best of intentions. Accepting this as an inevitable truth and feeling peace with uncertainty are things I’m still working out but so far I’ve learned that being fluid with change and having a consciously positive outlook are essential to keeping afloat. I think this is all to say, I’ve dealt with failure. Failure happens, probably more than once. Everything is in the response after.
photo below: Justin Chung for Faculty Dept. (Saehee's food styling)
Society is facing an unprecedented situation with the effects of COVID-19. What have you been doing to stay grounded and mindful during these times? Do you maybe have a recipe or favorite pastime to share while we are all at home?
Actually, my work is my self-care. It gives me some measure of peace to be able to bring healthy produce to friends that I love. When I’m selecting produce at the farms, it’s healing to think about the people who will be receiving the food. I smile every time I get romaine for my friend Casey because I know she loves that lettuce. I’m a believer in food magic and I like the idea that we can imbibe more meaning into everyday objects with intention and care.
Thanks to Saehee Cho for contributing to Botanica World!
If you enjoyed this interview, please consider donating to the following charity that she has selected: LA Food Bank