A Candyland for Health Food LoversDec 16, 2019 06:03PM ● By Carrielle Sedersten
Even those who haven’t been to The Grove Juicery have likely seen photos of it. Its snap-friendly aesthetic and decor—combining modern elements of white walls and a navy velour sofa with the organic element of fresh flowers and indoor plants—have made it a popular place for devout foodie Instagrammers.
The Grove Juicery is a popular wellness cafe founded in 2018 by Meghann Schense, with a mission of providing nourishment for a sharp mind, glowing body, healthy heart, and happy soul.
Schense is subtly stylish in a French way. She lived in Paris for more than two years. During that time, she basically lived out of her suitcase, working with fashion designers in Canada and Europe to bring them to the U.S. fashion market.
She was constantly in different time zones, staying out late to grab dinner with clients, and her schedule was all over the place. Her lifestyle then wasn’t the model for optimal health it is today.
“When I was on the road I found…I was seeking places like this [The Grove Juicery] out,” Schense said. “I was always looking for a health cafe or a juice bar or anything that could kind of help balance out the craziness in my life at the time.”
She became a huge consumer of cold-pressed juice to combat jet lag, improve her energy, and stay healthy during her travels. Regularly consuming a product doesn’t lead everyone to open a business centered on that product, but in Schense’s case, that’s exactly what happened.
After asking herself what she wanted to do with her life and what she was passionate about, she knew it had to be in the health and wellness field. She also knew it had to be in Omaha.
Every time she came back to visit, she asked her friends, family, and all of her Uber drivers if they knew what cold-pressed juice was, and the resounding answer was yes. However, they didn’t have access to it.
Schense thought carefully about the location of The Grove Juicery, which is near 24th and Farnam streets. It was important to her to be accessible to downtown, South O, North O, and Midtown because she believes those areas are food deserts.
She wants to give people living in these neighborhoods and the rest of Omaha who may not have access to fresh food the opportunity to take control of their health the way she has.
“I really want people to understand that they have the power to make these choices and really take care of themselves and heal themselves from within,” Schense said. She believes people need to get away from the idea of always looking for a quick fix for their health and return to eating real food. “The more colorful your diet is from natural foods, the better,” she said.
The Grove Juicery makes it easy and fun to add more color to what people eat and drink. Their products include the Yonce—short for Beyoncé—a bright yellow cold-pressed juice made with lemon, jalapeno, sea buckthorn, alkaline water, and maple syrup; or a reddish-purple acai bowl topped with house-made granola, banana, or coconut; or a pastel-pink ginger and beetroot beauty latte that make up all the vibrant colors of the rainbow (and some not often seen in the sky).
The juicery uses organic fruits and vegetables as often as possible and sources local produce whenever it’s available. Schense said sourcing organic produce, especially locally, is one of her biggest challenges.
During the summer and fall, The Grove Juicery is a vendor at the Omaha Farmers Market, and Schense uses the opportunity to connect with local farmers and get their perspective on the agriculture industry. She said she keeps hearing the same chilling story about the high use of crop duster planes applying chemicals to crops and fields. She said a lot of farmers don’t feel as though they have a choice in using it and aren’t proud of the food they’re growing.
“We wonder where cancers are coming from and where some of these diseases and illnesses are coming from,” she said. “I think…when people realize what they put into their body really matters, that will empower people and that will empower change. These issues are really important, and they go hand-in-hand with our health care and our health industry.”
Schense thinks the reason people are so wasteful is that fast food teaches us not to value food, because it’s not nutritious and it’s cheap enough that if it’s left out, people buy more. This conditioning results in people not valuing themselves and their health—something Schense would like to help change.
“It starts with self-worth and feeling like you deserve this valuable, good food, and you should have that,” she said.
Some of the most rewarding moments for her is when people come in and experience her products for the first time. “When we give them samples, you can just see their face kind of light up—that they are remembering what some of these things [foods] actually taste like,” Schense said.
Schense sees her business as more than a way to impact the lives of people. She views it as a way to impact the planet. Schense said the food industry, particularly animal products, has a large impact on the environment—from what it does to our water, to our soil, to our air. But there is a growing number of people making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle specifically because of climate change.
“A lot of the time…conversation tends to swirl around the same topic,” she said. “From inner-city kids without access to real, quality food and exposed to various city pollution; to young suburban couples who grow their own food because they know how few [food manufacturers] you can actually trust on the market today; to seasoned, rural farmers talking about toxic pesticides being sprayed all day, every day, over thousands of miles of crops. Not to mention the shattering floods and fires, affecting food tremendously. All essentially revolving around the same issue—climate change and our health.”
Schense said whatever inspires someone to move in that direction, she believes there are only positive results. “Whether it’s your health, or the climate, or performing at your best, I think these are all things people are really starting to understand and feel.”
Visit thegrovejuicery.com for more information.This article was printed in the September 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.