¡Saludos! I am Merelis Catalina, a Afro-indígena Dominicana. I was born and raised in Queens, NY; my motherland the Dominican Republic (DR). I stayed connected to DR by visiting family during the summer every two years. I graduated from the City College of New York, where I discovered my passion for food sovereignty and studied the connection between culture and food. The past five years, I have worked with the Northern Manhattan community around nutrition education, to speak on ways food is medicine. Today I work as a wellness organizer, where I help organize schools and early childhood centers bring wellness to their spaces in a culturally respectful way. I am guided and inspired by my community of powerful and loving Black and Brown people. I am the living legacy of my ancestors and family, who have and continue to nourish and heal community through food. I love to eat tostones and make my natural version of vivaporú called Vidaporú!