Leslie Durso: Smile Activated Veggie-Activism

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Leslie Durso, is a shining example of a passionate food activist and teacher. She  seeks to not only inform people about how to prepare delicious food but also is making people a little bit more conscious about what it is that they are eating. She has been a vegetarian since childhood of her fruition, and started at home with her soft-touch activism and is now touring and teaching all over the nation. Leslie, recently appeared at t Whole Foods on 3rd and Fairfax where she held a cooking class and Citizens of Culture had the joy of speaking with her beforehand.

Leslie has seemed to master the audience she is in front of , having a background in modeling and acting she is always charming and approachable. This isn’t the same tone taken by some in the food activism area. It can tend to be preachy in attempt to educate people, but Leslie, doesn’t come off that way in the slightest,”I take a happy sunshine approach to my audience. I tell tuned in vegans to invite their friends over for dinner instead of being preachy. Lead by example.” It is exactly that approach that has earned Leslie the title of “Veggie Dreamgirl”  she has appeared in several magazine, as a figure and source for information.

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Photo Courtesy of Wholefoods

Durso has always been a cook and interested in food. She has travelled to Italy and learned much of her style from their cuisine. Even during her time as an actress she maintained a catering company and has done private dinners for organizations like the Humane Society. Leading by example is really the goal isn’t it? Finding something you are passionate about and using that as a vehicle to reach people in your community. Leslie is a native Californian and acknowledges the benefit of location when it comes to eating healthy,” California has the advantage of fresh fruit year around, but it can be done in cold regions like NY as well. “

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Photo Courtesy of Wholefoods

What is amazing about Leslie is how natural her growth as figure in the food industry seems to have been.  While still on her way Leslie, has certainly carved her niche.She has a willingness to meet people where they are with their diet and a patience for them to learn and adapt at their own pace. “I recommend people start with growing one food item they eat,it gets people interested in what their foods are.” This approach is gradual and organic, but creates lasting change in the lives of her audience. She views farmer’s markets as special cultural experiences, as a place to meet people, and educate children about food from the earliest age. It begs analysis on social change and activist, just as Leslie Durso teaches and advices on organic natural food, she also employs that method of out reach as well. She makes deeper impact on those that do come her way than soapboxing and attempting to capitalize on thousands of shallow impressions. Currently she is competing for the Humane Society of the United States to win $10,000 as a part of a the Verizon Game Changers Competition. Check out the link and video below to participate and vote up to once a day until October 17th. http://vimeo.com/74308088 Leslie Durso challenges us to eat better, and encourages to do it on our own terms. Her hope is to inspire more people to make healthy food choices and to, one day,have vegan options on every menu in America. It’s change, happening before your eyes, and even in your tastebuds.

LeslieDurso.com
c
over photo: Credit Adam Hendershott

 

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