ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An entrepreneur in Eatonville is sharing her passion for healthy living in a town that has struggled to overcome significant health issues.
- DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery is a vegan café with a Jamaican flair
- Research shows 24 percent of people in Eatonville have diabetes
Chef Jenn Ross owns DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery and her business is embedded in the community.
"When I first came here I thought, 'Oh my gosh, you're going to feed the town of Eatonville. This is going to be beautiful,'" she said.
DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery is a vegan café with a Jamaican flair.
Ross explained, "The idea for living vegan is to live in a way that causes the least amount of harm to humans and non-human animals."
The food eliminates all animal products. Her creations in the kitchen are bringing healthy food to an area struggling with health issues.
Research shows 24 percent of the people in Eatonville had diabetes and nearly 40 percent suffered from high blood pressure.
"When I came to Eatonville, I felt a stronger responsibility to not just bring vegan food but to bring healthy vegan which is another step up," Ross said.
Before Ross was fueling her customers off East Kennedy Boulevard, she was running a restaurant inside of a gas station on North Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. She landed there after responding to an ad on Craigslist and that is where she fine-tuned her mission.
She said, "If you can make getting really good vegan food as mundane as pumping gas, you remove so many of the barriers to veganism, and that was kind of our thing. We're going to make veganism accessible to everybody, people of color, make sure people of color are mentioned."
When the lease was not renewed, she saw Eatonville, the oldest black incorporated municipality, was the perfect place to relocate.
"With that rich history and the pride in being black in this town I'm like OK this is where I need to be," she said.
Whether it is through free cooking classes for Eatonville residents or preparing a meal, Ross is committed to sharing her passion for veganism as a path to healthy living.