The COVID-19 virus has led many people to pivot their careers and try something new. Northern Michigan University alumna Anna Dravland (AT '13, BS '14) was inspired to reinvent herself professionally, not only in the context of the virus but also after suffering a massive stroke. The Spread Goodness Day founder has approached the challenge with her signature positivity.
“Since I've been sick and realized that I cannot return to traditional work, it became clear that I had to do things differently—that I had to work for myself,” said Dravland. “I was in marketing prior to getting sick, so it's natural for me to think in a marketing way, which led to the business. Because I am disabled and my life was already affected by a medical condition that is out of my control, I figured that there is no bad time to try launching my business, so why not try during a pandemic?”
A Tower Garden gifted from a friend sparked Dravland's idea to launch Goodness and Greens. The business features aeroponic Tower Gardens, which require no soil and run on automatic lights and timers, and Juice Plus whole food nutrition. Dravland also operates a locally sourced Giggles and Greens gift store, including Hotplate Pottery creations inscribed with fruit and vegetable jokes, as well as cannabis-infused candles.
“I never was able to keep a single plant alive, from succulents to aloe to even bamboo. I didn't kill anything in my Tower Garden, and I have fresh produce to eat. The Tower Gardens are in some ways like masks that you may need as the world adapts to a different lifestyle. I set up mine during quarantine, and it was obvious to me that this was something people would find valuable. They allow you to use and trust the food you are eating, regardless of the pandemic or your comfort level with going to the grocery store.”
While still suffering from unexplained collapses, rare conditions and chronic pain, Dravland used her free energy to develop a platform for Goodness and Greens so that she could share her new passion and build a sustainable business for herself—a business that can function even when she is not functional.
Dravland said that her primary mission is to get the aeroponic gardens into schools, nonprofits and homes and to provide more access to year-round, fresh produce in the Upper Peninsula and beyond.
“I launched my business with concern for the overall health, depression and anxiety of the country and the world. A goal of Goodness and Greens is to spread as much goodness as we can. Food is important. It is also important to laugh. We cannot rely on perfection from outside forces. Even with a cheesy pun on a piece of pottery, I like to give people giggles.”
Dravland launched her nationally recognized Spread Goodness Day less than one month before her stroke. The annual event encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to perform one act of goodness, large or small, on the second Friday of March. NMU will be participating in this year's event.
“NMU partnered for the third time last year and had some amazing plans, but unfortunately Friday the 13th was the day that they shut down NMU's campus [because of COVID-19]. The event still went off, but a lot of it had to be canceled. Now, we will adapt. We will plan things safely with COVID-19 in mind. Last year showed us that things simply will need to be done differently.”
Dravland holds degrees in hospitality management and food service management from NMU. Learn more about Goodness and Greens at https://www.goodnessandgreens.com/. Learn more about Spread Goodness Day at https://www.spreadgoodnessday.com/.
“I would love to hear from NMU students who would like to be involved in Spread Goodness Day. I would love to have more students involved in whatever they want to do, whether it's social media, marketing, or even graphic design.”