For some people living in San Jose, fast food joints and liquor stores are the cheapest and easiest places to buy food. Veggielution, a community farm in East San Jose, offers an alternative to these cheap and often unhealthy food sources. Since 2009, Veggielution has supplied fresh, organic produce to volunteers in exchange for labor performed on the farm. For Amie Frisch, who co-founded the farm as a post-college experiment, it has blossomed into a radical project to change the way people think about their food and their community.

Name: Amie Frisch
Age: 29
Occupation: Executive Director and Co-founder of Veggielution

How long have you lived/worked in San Jose?

I have lived in San Jose for 12 years. I moved here to go to San Jose State.

At what point did you decide to stay in San Jose and pursue your career?

As I was going to school and starting to get active in some projects, I just started making a lot of connections. I decided to set my roots down. After Veggielution started, I really had to commit.
What is the hardest part of running Veggielution?

I guess the hardest part for me is that I have absolutely no educational background in business and nonprofit management. It’s definitely a challenge.

What do you like most about San Jose?

Seeing downtown change and grow. I love going to First Fridays. I love the new public market. I love that it’s a big population but downtown still has a small feel. I can easily go downtown and see people I know.

If there is one thing you could change here what would it be?

The suburban sprawl. Once you get out of downtown, it’s strip-mall land. I don’t like that. Something more realistic to change would be more bicycle activities. Portland has way crappier weather than us but way more people on bikes. San Jose is really flat and has really nice weather.

What is your favorite vegetable and how is it prepared?

That’s like playing favorites with children! I’m gonna pick a winter one because it’s winter and I like to eat in season. I love kale. I like to take out the a stems, chop it up into strips, sautee with olive oil and salt and soy sauce. Or in kale chips. You bake it so they’re crispy, like chips. I’ve tried several [different seasonings], like soy sauce and tahini.

Where’s your favorite local spot to go out at night?

At this point, it’s the new public market. More and more stuff is opening in there. I’m in love with the pizza. I can’t eat pizza from anywhere else now.

Where do you buy your groceries?

I buy my groceries generally at Whole Foods. I wish that San Jose had a better option than Whole Foods for local, sustainable stuff because it’s a national chain. But when the rest of the [San Pedro Square] market opens in the spring, they’ll have The Veggie Box, which will have very local produce. I also get some of my produce from Veggielution.

Who is the most interesting person you know in San Jose?

Diana Foss, the owner of The Veggie Box store that’s going to open at the market. She’s one of the board of directors at Veggielution and she’s also a master crafter. She knits and sews her own clothing and she’s incredibly talented.

She’s like a generation-ish above the Veggielution folks. We all tell her we want to be her when we grow up. She does so many awesome things. She’s also a phenomenal cook and was the chef for our very first fundraiser [banquet dinner].  She’s the foodiest foodie.

At the end of a long and stressful work day, what keeps you coming back?

Soemtimes when I get kinda stressed out, I like to just go and walk around the farm. It gives me a really warm and fuzzy feeling inside to see what we’ve done.