6 07 2007


By Jill Ettinger

Last night, a friend and I talked about our laborious decision-making processes. Being heavily involved in the natural products industry for over half of my life, I’m aware that I’ve developed the habit of thinking through my purchasing choices, perhaps even to a crippling degree. The thing is, so much is affected by conscious and unconscious decisions. Though these are perhaps not the thoughts of the average American, we nonetheless weigh the value of eating organically versus the impact of transporting foods from around the globe, the economic and environmental tolls of paper towels versus hand dryers, and the struggle of “buying green” versus buying nothing at all. There are no right answers; these questions in and of themselves involve the practice of becoming more connected to everything we are already connected to. They serve to remind why it is I am so grateful for the opportunities to bring more choices to an era inundated with less freedom. One can only hope that pleas like in the video posted below (Remixing Nixon) to a government for, by and of the people begins to sink in, and the powers that be step it up for the collective best interest, not just their own.

At 35 years old, with more than 15 of them spent in this industry I value so tremendously, it’s refreshing to see the passionate next generation come of age. I am no longer the youngest player on the team, but find myself surrounded by individuals with the drive to take things even further. Just imagine that. We have come so far, yet there’s still so much more room to grow. What the founding fathers of the organic movement brought to this planet a few decades ago was enormous. And I am in awe when contemplating where we’re at now. Despite the challenges that continue to present themselves, the doors that open to sharing not just organic foods, but fairly traded, environmentally considerate and compassionate options is just unbelievable. It’s an honor to look into the eyes of this generation that will insist on even bigger change, affecting more people and (hopefully) bringing more happiness and balance. The saying “child is the father of man” continues to ring true, and I for one feel safe getting older. While corruption and greed still exists ad nauseum, those are the last efforts of dying breeds.

As Sunfood Nutrition grows, we have developed relationships with brokers who can assist us in our retail placement. We’ve acquired some of the longest standing pioneers, who have great reputations and relationships  valuable to a small company. But at this year’s Natural Products Expo West in March, I pledged my support to a small North West team, none over age thirty, because the smile and sincerity in their eyes was undeniable. One particular young lady in the crew, Sarah Venning, passed away tragically just two days ago in a car accident. The news left me feeling sick to my stomach as I tried to process the unthinkable. It was just days before her 26th birthday.

Though my exchanges with Sarah were infrequent, they were always inspiring. She resonated with our products, and her enthusiasm was touching, genuine. Like her partners at Conscious Trading, I always felt we were not just in good hands, but some of the best on the planet. This was a team committed to standing for something because it was who they were; they simply have to do what they’re called to do. Compassion is a powerful tool, one that lends itself to positive change, and it is indeed  the trademark of our future. If we cannot respect all things, we will not begin to understand nor learn how to live together. And there is so much to learn about other cultures, traditions and individuals.

Sarah, a massage therapist from New Orleans, set up shop after the Katrina disaster, using her healing gifts to ease people through the tragedy. She also co-founded A Conscious Tune, a non-profit organization designed to revive and preserve the unique culture of New Orleans by raising and allocating funds for local grassroots organizations that have a remarkable volunteer base and a significant impact toward improving living conditions in New Orleans.

The miracle of myspace allows all of us to take a look at what was, like her beautiful smile, a unique and unforgettable life. Though the tragedy of losing anyone is no easy thing to forget, I find some comfort on this blue rainy evening thinking there are many more valiant spirits like Sarah Venning, ready to rise to meet the future. Both Jesse and Julie at Conscious Trading specifically. I know they’ll carry on even more nobly and courageously for the cause Sarah was so passionate about. Blessings and Love.




6 responses

9 07 2007
Mellisa Baylis

Dear Jill,
I feel the same. Sarah was and still is a shinning star. I am just blessed to have been able to be a part of her life. We here at Reviva Labs. Will miss her passion. But you are right Jesse and Julie at Conscious Trading will carry on courageously for Sarah’s cause and much more.
Mellisa Baylis
Vice President
Reviva Labs

17 07 2007
Linda Killen

Thank You Sarah V. for being a friend to my daughter Sarah Killen, who lives in New Orleans, she loved you dearly and was saddended by your death. You were a beautiful young lady as I can tell by that smile on your face and I know that you are in Heaven and one of God’s Angels. Peace be with you. May we all be reminded how quickly our lives can change and love each other and live our lives that would make God and Sarah V. PROUD. Keep Sarah V.’s family lifted up in your prayers during this most difficult time. Please know that we love you and pray for you.

In His Love,
Linda Killen
Bossier City, LA

18 11 2010
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