Gay Desert Guide’s Woman Crush on this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 is the true embodiment of kindness, generosity, and sincerity, Misti Rausch. If you don’t already have the joy of Misti’s friendship, if you happen to enjoy vegan food here in Palm Springs, chances are you enjoy Native Foods on a regular basis. Misti is the General Manager of the Palm Springs location – which also happens to be the very first Native Foods, opening its doors in 1994. Misti took some time this afternoon for a virtual interview with GDG’s Jeff Denean Jones for the Woman Crush Wednesday spotlight.

GDG: Were you born and raised here in the Coachella Valley?
MISTI: “I was born in San Bernardino and have been a proud Coachella Valley resident for the last 31 years!”
GDG: You have been Native Food’s GM for several years. How has working for Native Foods impacted your life, that you consider unique to Native Foods?
MISTI: “I have now been working at Native Foods’ original location in Palm Springs for over 8 years. This company (and the local community that has supported it since its’ inception in 1994) has absolutely transformed my life. This job has afforded me every opportunity to flourish as a leader, and I’ve made so many life-long friendships along the way.
“What makes Native Foods unique for me is our purpose and values that extend what we do far beyond serving delicious vegan food to our community. Every decision made at Native Foods is governed by our purpose: to make a difference every day, one person and one plant-based meal at a time. Our values are integrity, compassion, continuous innovation and accountability.”
GDG: Native Foods is a legendary source for all-vegan, super delicious food since 1994. Working at the original Native Foods location, do you feel as though you are managing a sacred spot?
MISTI: “I definitely do feel that way! Our restaurant was so ahead of the times when opened in the 1990’s, and now we have families who have been eating there for almost three decades.
It was the first place I enjoyed a vegan restaurant meal in 2010, long before I was vegan. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of a plant-based diet and lifestyle, and I share that sentimentality with our guests.”
GDG: I think of you as one of the kindest, sincerest people I’ve ever met – I can’t imagine you any otter way. Of course everyone faces stress at times, it’s how we choose to cope with life’s stressors that makes the difference in how we interact with the world around us. What has worked for you in terms of kindness and maintaining compassion?
MISTI: “During the pandemic, I’ve had time to spend focusing on self-care, which is essential in managing stress and maintaining a positive and compassionate outlook on life.
Self-care for me is spending time with my kids (two cats, two netherland dwarf rabbits and a tarantula), listening to music and studying watercolor painting.”
GDG: What is your biggest pet peeve?
MISTI: “In 2020, my biggest pet peeve definitely became anti-maskers. The politicization of wearing face masks/following COVID precautions by the former administration cost our country literally hundreds of thousands of lives.
Acting as an essential infrastructure worker during a pandemic is difficult enough, with all of the constant pivoting and adapting, none of us need the added stress of verbally battling someone who believes their “personal freedom” of not wearing a mask is more important than the greater good of our society as a whole.”
GDG: Where would you like to travel to that you haven’t been to before? And Why?
MISTI: “So many places! Before the pandemic, my next vacation was going to be to Costa Rica. The richness and diversity of wildlife is unmatched.
After I am vaccinated and travel is more safe, I will definitely be taking advantage of my vacation time.”
GDG: If you could sum up your general outlook on life in a quote, what would that quote be?
MISTI: “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut
A big thank you and virtual hug to Misti for taking some time today for us. Be sure let Misti know you saw her on Gay Desert Guide the next time you are out enjoying Native Foods!
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