Chef Leslie Woodward, CEO/Creator of Edenesque, has been passionate about clean eating, local and seasonal foods for over 20 years. Her belief is that most diseases are connected and caused by the foods we eat or do not eat. As a student of Holistic Nutrition, Leslie worked with individuals to support their healing using food and training those clients to use proper cooking techniques. Leslie wanted to understand nutritional diseases in communities of color and begin to unpack the common arguments that are claimed to be the causes for such high diagnosis of nutrient deficient diseases within said communities.
Then, while going to the grocery store, Leslie recognized that the products that filled our grocery shelves were filled with ‘stuff’ – fillers, additives, preservatives…stuff that is not nutritionally supportive for our bodies. Meanwhile, people are suffering and dying from nutrition related diseases and having to rely on prescription drugs for sustained wellness. One could argue, that due to the lack of clean and wholesome foods in many areas of our country, notwithstanding, food deserts, public health in our country is at crisis.
Leslie’s dream was a bit idealistic and altruistic but she wanted to figure out a way to holistically serve her community by using her culinary talent. Guided by these main principals – first, create clean food and produce food items that will strengthen and support our bodies. Next, create a company that will be supportive and provide opportunities to those that are institutionally underserved in our community. With these guiding principles, Edenesque was created.
Hudson Valley One
Edenesque will be housed in The Arc of Ulster-Greene building whose mission is “to offer people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities opportunities to live and experience full lives.” Edenesque will work with The Arc and support its mission by offering employment opportunities to individuals of diverse ability. In addition, Edenesque is committed to offering employment to individuals with other barriers to employment, including those who were previously incarcerated, immigrants, domestic violence survivors, and those of various educational backgrounds. Edenesque will engage in open hiring practices and offer training and support services to all of its team members, listed below.
Edenesque believes that as an employer we have to take into account the ‘whole’ person that we engage in work. Benefits range from standard health insurance benefits to 4-hrs of paid community service each month. Some of these opportunities include: