My name is Rachel Fernandez and I’ve lived my whole life with an undying obsession with produce. When I was four years old, my mother used to bribe and reward me with asparagus, and not much has changed. Even after 16 years, you can still get me to do just about anything for a nice cabbage or a cantaloupe.

I became a Vegetarian With Vegan Tendencies about eight years ago, and I discovered that one of the biggest and most common delusions about sticking to a plant-based diet is that it’s inherently more expensive. I’m a college student in Chicago with a budget of about $0.64 a year, and prioritizing produce has been one of the most effective economic strategies to keep my debit card from getting declined.

Living in a Chicago brings about a unique set of challenges. Finding good and fresh produce during the winter can be a bit of a pain, but it’s totally worth it when the receipt for a month’s worth of food comes out to $40. But budgeting aside, veggies and fruits are the best and most delicious and versatile foods on the planet, so there’s no wonder why it’s called PROduce.