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Chef’s Growing Career Sustained by Local’s Passion for the Environment

Local’s passion for the environment sustains her growing career as a chef


In the small coastal town of Leucadia, California, there is a local resident named Maya Harrison who is making waves not only as a surfer but also as an environmentalist and aspiring chef. Her love for the environment and her dedication to sustainable practices have fueled her journey to become a classically-trained chef. With a focus on promoting indigenous farming practices and supporting local agricultural movements, Maya is using her culinary skills to educate others and raise awareness about the importance of sustainable living.

A Surfer’s Awakening to Environmentalism

Maya’s journey began as a competitive surfer, where she first became aware of the detrimental effects of ocean pollution and sea level rise. Witnessing the disappearance of beaches within a span of just 15 years was a profound experience for Maya, propelling her towards a path of environmentalism. Surfing became her gateway to understanding the urgent need for change.

A Shift Towards Environmental Education

Despite her success in the world of surfing, Maya’s passion for environmentalism led her to pursue a degree in climate change and human solutions with a minor in human rights from UC San Diego. She recognized that addressing climate change meant addressing the practices of industrial farming, which contributed significantly to the crisis. Maya yearned to learn more about sustainable farming and decided to immerse herself in the world of permaculture.

Maya’s dedication to self-sufficiency during the pandemic led her to live on a permaculture farm in Hawaii. There, she learned about natural farming practices that prioritize soil and food health, and how to run a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program. Maya became an advocate for CSA programs, emphasizing their importance in supporting local farmers and providing communities with access to fresh, locally-grown produce.

Making Culinary Connections

Maya’s time on the permaculture farm not only taught her about sustainable farming but also ignited her passion for cooking. She discovered the art of making simple, delicious salads, vinaigrettes, and even homemade pasta. The experience of growing her own food and understanding the value of each ingredient sparked a deep respect for the culinary arts. Maya began hosting dinner parties for friends, honing her cooking skills and perfecting her recipes.

Driven by her desire to learn and immerse herself in culinary practices, Maya decided to enroll in culinary school at the CulinaryLab Cooking School in Santa Ana. The school provides her with the opportunity to expand her knowledge and skills, allowing her to pursue her dream of becoming a classically-trained chef.

The Intersection of Food, Sustainability, and Education

Maya’s journey as a chef goes beyond creating delicious meals. Each dining experience she curates serves a greater purpose: to educate and inspire. By incorporating seasonal ingredients and drawing inspiration from local restaurants, Maya aims to showcase the importance of supporting local farmers and preserving the health of the soil.

Through her pop-up dining events, Maya educates guests about various topics such as biodynamic farming, indigenous land stewardship, and the need for social justice in the cannabis industry. She collaborates with guest speakers who share their expertise and personal experiences, creating an informative and immersive dining experience.

Related Facts

– Maya is one of the co-founders of Sea and Soil Collective, a nonprofit organization that focuses on creating access to local produce and engaging volunteers in community gardens.
– Coastal Roots Farm offers a farm internship program for those interested in sustainable farming practices similar to Maya’s experience in Hawaii.
– Maya’s passion for supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable practices led her to start a CSA program, delivering fresh produce to people’s doorsteps.

Key Takeaway

Maya Harrison’s journey from competitive surfer to environmentalist and aspiring chef exemplifies the power of passion and a commitment to positive change. Her dedication to sustainable practices and her desire to educate others through her culinary experiences are at the core of her growing career. Maya demonstrates the importance of supporting local farmers, preserving the health of the soil, and advocating for a more sustainable and just future.


Maya Harrison’s story is a testament to the profound impact individuals can make when they align their passions with their focus on environmental sustainability. Her journey from competitive surfer to aspiring chef has led her to explore the intersections of food, agriculture, and environmental activism. Through her culinary creations and educational initiatives, Maya is inspiring others to consider the impact of their choices on the environment and encouraging them to support local farmers and sustainable practices. As she continues to grow her career as a chef, Maya’s commitment to preserving the health of the planet remains steadfast, and her impact on the local community continues to flourish.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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