My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a global awareness company committed to inspiring change for humanity, the environment and animals, one choice at a time.
I love Marisa’s documentary and the message it conveys, promoting health and awareness around our daily choices and how they affect the world around us. As she says: “My hope is that this film will further the conversation about our culture and our relationship to animals, our planet, and our bodies through our food.”
Marisa Miller Wolfson is the writer/director of Vegucated, an award-winning documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers for six weeks as they adopt a vegan diet and a whole new way of thinking about food. Vegucated premiered at the Toronto Independent Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary award and went on to screen at a dozen film festivals worldwide and to become a digital bestseller.
1) What Journey are You on?
I am on a journey about letting go of the idea of “perfect” while trying to stay true to myself, my values, and my wishes for my life, my family, and for the world. As a newish parent of a 15-month-old, this definitely relates to my family life right now. Back when I was pregnant and reading all the baby books I had pretty clear ideas of how I wanted to raise my child and how he would be. He would stick to my schedule, eat the food I lovingly prepared for him, would enjoy the things I enjoy, etc. And I would not let him have any screen time before age 2. I would also only use cloth diapers, only stock my fridge/pantry with healthy foods, and want to go back to work after 6 months. Then my beautiful boy came along, and he didn’t read the books I had read explaining how he would be. He also had his own ideas about his schedule, his appetite, and his interests. And I surprised myself by not wanting to take on any other big projects. He is a big enough project for me now. Working out this dance between us has been the greatest joy and the biggest responsibility of my life. It’s messy, it’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s incredible, and it’s a huge lesson in letting go of control and of the idea of being perfect.
2) What has been one of your greatest challenges over the years, either with the work that you do or in another area of your life, and how did you overcome it?
Well, I made a movie when I hadn’t taken any film classes and had no idea how to make a movie. That was a gynormous challenge. I surrounded myself with people who supported me, who knew what the heck they were doing and weren’t afraid to speak their minds about the project. I was obsessed with it for years and ate, drank, and slept the project every day. I ran into so many roadblocks and thought, “there’s no way I’m every going to work this out.” And yet I always did. Sometimes it took forever or I had to use a cumbersome workaround, but I learned not to freak out at challenges. I started to have faith that it would, in fact, work out eventually. And it did!
3) Who or what inspires you the most?
People who dream big and smash ideas about who they think they are and what they can do. How many times do we define ourselves in a certain way only to transform into something else that we then define ourselves by? All. the. time. It’s about people who don’t consider themselves athletic who then run half-marathons or marathons. It’s about people who don’t consider themselves college material who then graduate with honors. Or who would never in a million years identify as vegan and then get some information or inspiration and suddenly become vegan. It’s wonderful. We really can be who we want and choose to be.
4) What is your greatest hope for our planet at this time?
My greatest hope for the planet rests in raising kids who consider themselves “solutionaries,” a wonderful term that Zoe Weil, founder of the Institute for Humane Education, used in a TEDx talk to describe generations of kids who:
*don’t take things on face value and always ask questions
*care deeply about healing our relationship with the planet, animals, and other people
*use their compassion and ingenuity to create solutions to our problems
The generation after me, the Millennials, already prize making the world a better place as a major priority. I’m hoping that instinct just gets stronger and stronger with every generation. Just think where we’d be!
What Journey are YOU on?