By the time I was in my early teens, I was finally comfortable enough to “come out of the refrigerator” as a vegan, a personal truth I struggled with since early childhood. While I was often labeled as a picky or difficult eater, the correlation soon became clear: the only foods I didn’t enjoy eating were once animals or their byproducts.

With limited vegan food options in my hometown, I began working at a local health food co-op during college in order to feed and educate myself about the healthiest vegan options available.

Trading in academic pursuits of a career in journalism, I immersed myself into the vastly expanding natural foods industry, which exposed me to a world of new nutritious tastes, alternative healing modalities, cultural practices, and traditions. I never looked back.

I first set foot in a Whole Foods Market in 1999 in Southern California. Hailing from Western Pennsylvania where the small local co-op was the only option for health seekers, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I strolled through the store’s massive offerings. But while I could hardly believe my eyes, I also knew the time had come–that we all know in our hearts that we can do better, and that we can direct our food system toward a more values-oriented way, both for our people and our planet.

It became clear to me that working for a better food system was my calling. I spent more than a decade as a sales and marketing manager at a leading natural foods brokerage team working with some of the biggest organic and natural household name brands including: Clif Bar, Yogi Tea, Peace Cereal, Guayaki, Boca Burgers, Tofurky, Traditional Medicinals, Earth Friendly, Ecco Bella, Organic Valley, Sunfood Nutrition, and Sambazon.

These days as a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, I am happily bridging my love for changing the food system with my lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values.

My writing regularly appears on Organic Authority, EcoSalon, SheKnows, Eat Drink Better, and E-ecosphere. And you can also find me behind the scenes developing unique online marketing campaigns and building social communities for emergent brands in the natural space.

But before my love for food and writing, there was a love for music. I’ve been reviewing and writing about music longer than I’ve been writing about food (especially if you count my middle school newspaper stories about Duran Duran). My album liner notes, record reviews, and photographs of musicians have been featured on MTV IggyThe Village Voice, and Global Rhythm, and my top album picks appear in the Village Voice’s annual Pazz and Jop poll.

For samples of my work, please click here.

Stay in touch with me on Twitter @jillettinger  and Instagram @jill_ettinger

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