It is so hard to accept that yesterday, December 7, marked a whole year since the passing of Jackie Graff in 2015. I can’t even think about it without feeling deep grief and sorrow for this unbearable loss.
I was at a loss as to how I will continue living without her, and how to carry on the work that we both started in 2000. Our transition to raw vegan food, would not have been as successful was it not for Jackie’s amazing creativity and culinary talent. Everyone who had the chance to be at our classes and workshops realized that the recipes that she developed made it possible for people to adopt the lifestyle without feeling deprived or going hungry. She made food so satisfying and fun, it mad people crave her food and adopting the lifestyle without looking back.
Jackie believed that healthy people needed to adopt a healthy lifestyle. She set up to prove that unlike to common perception, being raw vegan can and should be a lifestyle of fun, happiness and total satisfaction. She also believed that the common misconception about the time, effort and cost of a healthy lifestyle is a myth. She showed people how they can spend a few hours a week preparing food, and enjoying life for the rest of the time. She left us well over 600 recipes, and workshop and course manuals for many ethnic and holidays foods, and course material short and long raw food classes.
Her crown achievement was the creation of the three week certification course, that trained hundreds of people to become raw vegan chefs and raw educators. Her students are still out there, teaching the next generation of health food leaders and teachers.
I was at a loss how to continue her work. In my grief and sorrow, I felt like I will not be able to continue her work, it just seems pointless to do it without her. One thing kept me going, her strong believe in this lifestyle and her refusal to abandon it when she got sick. Jackie kept to her raw vegan diet, and kept on teaching people even at the last few months when she needed help walking and getting into the kitchen.
It took me most of the year to figure out that I really owed it to Jackie, to continue her legacy, and to keep on teaching her unique and original body of work. Not only I need to continue, I need to step up and share her teaching more than ever.
As it is, it seems like the universe is in agreement with our plan. As I was thinking about expanding and promoting Jackie’s teaching, many opportunities opened up to us.
Our friends Charlie Grippo, and Elena Pezzo, (gradutes of the academy, who own the Green Bar and Kitchen, and the Green Bar express in Ft Lauderdale, are preparing a teaching facility to expand our classes to Southeast Florida.
Also, Katharine Clark, a long time family friend, and a long time health advocate and industry veteran, is partnering with me, to teach and help the Graff Academy, as our director of education. We will be offering classes and workshops in both Roswell, GA and Ft Lauderdale FL in 2017.
Please take a look at our 2017 January – June program. Many more events and classes are added, and many more talented and well known teachers will join us. Registration is on going for our January three week certification course, and the one week dessert class by Gabriela Oltean, that will take place in both Ft Lauderdale and Roswell.
Click this link to see all of our planned events for the first six months of 2017.