We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Dudas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my own business to take back control of my life. You know the saying? If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Urban farming began as a passion project and transformed into 3 small businesses:
– grow dudas, LLC
– grow dudas HQ, LLC (urban farm)
– grow dudas foundation Inc. (nonprofit)
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I got my start in the information security/cybersecurity industry over 20 years ago when I joined the US Army my senior year of high school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up so I enlisted to give myself time to figure out it out. I overcame a lot of challenges and learned many lessons along the way that shaped me to who I am today. I’m proud to say that grow dudas is a black-owned, woman-owned, and disabled veteran owned small business focused on cultivating a sustainable future in urban agriculture. It’s never too late to start over. Find out what you’re passionate about and go for it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To start, I’d give my friend a tour of the farm and show them what’s new and what’s growing at grow dudas HQ! We would do some farm chores followed by lunch and coffee at one of my favorite local restaurants or coffee shops (e.g. Muss and Turners, Henri’s Bakery & Cafe, Rev Coffee or the Read Shop).
Up next, a nice walk or bike ride on the silver comet trail to get some Vitamin D or a nice hike to find the elusive bamboo forest in Sandy Springs.
On weekends, I like to splurge a little so I’d treat my friend to afternoon tea at the St. Regis (Astor Court) followed by a mani/pedi at Les Mains Nail Bar @ The Works.
Once the sun sets, I’d take my friend to Bar Vegan at Ponce City Market for some good vibes and some cocktails/mocktails.
Lastly, I’d take my friend to the Battery for lunch at Antico followed by sweet treats at Jenni’s Splendid Ice Cream and River Street Candy Kitchen.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family and friends are the GOAT’s (greatest of all time).
My family has supported my business both financially and emotionally. I know my fellow small business owners can attest to the up and downs that comes along with starting your own business. For me, the downs are bearable because of the support of my family who lift me in spirit. They continue to show up for me in ways I never knew possible and for that I’m eternally grateful.
My friends or as I like to call them, my tribe are my biggest cheerleaders! I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I have received since starting my own business. I’m so thankful for the monetary donations as well as equipment and supplies for the farm. They speak highly about my business in rooms that I’m not even present in which has spread the word about my mission and has helped me gain more clients.