Having grown up on a twenty-seven acre organic farm in upstate New York, it’s no wonder that plant-based chef Mollie Engelhart has returned to farming in a big way.
After graduating from the CalArts film program, Mollie initially began her career in entertainment with Sony Music. She founded Majestic Studios, became a spoken-word recording artist, appeared on the HBO series, Def Poetry Jam, and featured in Sp!t—a groundbreaking documentary. But even with these accomplishments, Mollie felt her past pushing her in a compelling new direction.
Inspired by her upbringing and values of health-and-wellness-through-food, Mollie opened vegan restaurants KindKreme and Sage—the latter of which now has four locations in Southern California. Mollie also produced May I Be Frank, a documentary highlighting the bevy of transformations that are possible with healthy eating and positive thinking.
In spite of her success in the competitive food industry, Mollie realized she had become apathetic to the true environmental issues facing our planet, and the solutions they so desperately need. “I can remember exactly where I was,” Mollie recalls. “I was standing in my driveway in my little suburban neighborhood thinking I was doing all the things I should be doing to help the planet—I had a hybrid car, used my own reusable bags at the grocery store, ran a vegan restaurant, and sipped on oat milk lattes—and it hit me: I had become apathetic.” So, Mollie and her husband, Chef Elias Sosa, bought Sow a Heart farm and moved their family to live with the land. Sow a Heart—a regenerative farm committed to drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere than it puts in—now grows a variety of fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, avocados, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, and peppers. And to close the loop, all food waste from Mollie’s restaurants is returned to the farm, composted into soil, and used to nurture the next round of crops.
Now a part of Farmers Footprint—a coalition of farmers, educators, doctors, scientists, and business leaders aiming to expose the human and environmental impacts of chemical farming—Mollie is working with like-minded individuals to find a path forward through regenerative agricultural practices. She also sits on the board of Kiss the Ground—a nonprofit that is raising awareness of regenerative agriculture as a viable solution to combat the climate, water, and health crisis—and contributed to their eponymous documentary and upcoming sequel, Common Ground.
With unparalleled experience and passion, Face the Current was thrilled to speak with Mollie about the importance of regenerative agriculture, our need for more small-scale farms, and why we must look at soil-health as a critical tool to redirect societal health.
Sow a Heart Farm was “built on love”! Why is the farm a perfect place to raise your family?
“I believe soil health is profoundly connected to human health in both our immune systems and mental health. When you look at microbiology in soil and in the human gut, there is almost a seventy-percent overlap, so it’s obvious that we were meant to live with healthy soil. There’s lots of new evidence that shows that mental health is linked with soil health. These are the reasons why I think it’s important to raise a family on a farm…”