After Linda Berson’s husband required emergency open-heart surgery in 2007, she made it her mission to help reverse his heart disease. This quest led them to adopt a plant-based and oil-free diet, and Berson proudly reports that her husband “got 100 percent of his health back” and is on a “medication vacation.”
This change, however, caused the couple to feel socially isolated from those who didn’t follow the same healthy lifestyle. “It’s the longevity pill through the fork, but it’s not very popular,” notes Berson, a real estate agent turned nutritionist. She formed Naples Green Scene: A Plant-Powered Wellness Community as a way to connect with like-minded people, and what began as a small group has grown to nearly a thousand members.
Now a nonprofit with a team of health specialists, Naples Green Scene offers nutritional talks, hosts cooking demonstrations, and works with renowned plant-based eating experts and physicians to connect people with resources. It also hooks them up with discounts at area businesses.
Although Berson has passed the baton to Naples Green Scene organizer and health coach Michelle Joy Kramer, she’s still active in the community and has shared her experience and insight in a book titled Green Scene Diet. She states that Naples Green Scene is always welcoming new members, even those who don’t fully transition to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. And, as the Naples culinary scene has evolved, this lifestyle is now easier to adopt than ever, with many restaurants, including AZN Azian Cuisine at Mercato and True Food Kitchen at Waterside Shops, offering an array of options.