Jessica Dacey | Episode 87

An American citizen, Jessica Dacey was born in Canada. Her family left the U.S. when she was nine years old, living in South Africa for a few years before heading to England. After finishing her schooling, Jessica got the travel bug which lead her to Mongolia where, on the last day of her visit, she saw and applied for a job as Editor of the local newspaper. Jessica got the job, moving and living there for a year.

On a month long van trip traveling through the southwest with her husband, Jessica landed in Joshua Tree, one of the last and longest stops of their trip. There was an attraction to the space, the quiet and the beauty. They returned to Switzerland and two years later Jessica found herself applying for and landing a job at Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) in Joshua Tree. Jessica recalls making the decision to leave Switzerland one of the most difficult of her life, as she had become accustomed to an organized and progressive way of life in Switzerland, though she admits, "the comfort became a little bit stifling after awhile" and she felt the need for some new challenges.

The non-profit MDLT has been in existence for 12 years and, to date, has protected over 80,000 acres of the Mojave desert.

As MDLT's Director of Communications, Jessica finds herself helping people understand the importance of the desert, changing their minds from thinking of it as a wasteland. With that in mind, in this episode we also talk about why the construction of a proposed new development, on the south edge of Joshua Tree National Park is detrimental to the area.

Jessica intimates that while the chocolate and cheese in Switzerland are pushed to the forefront, the balance of their culinary history relies mostly on a heavy German food influence. Looking to eat lighter fare, while on a visit home to Bath, England, Jessica took a two-week class at Demuths Cookery School to learn vegan recipes and techniques. Returning to Switzerland with these skills, opportunities arose allowing Jessica to make food for musicians playing at a well-known music venue in Switerzland as well as at a refugee center.

A 'global citizen', Jessica says she was surprised at the transformative effect the desert has had on her. Her travels have taught her we all share a common humanity and she encourages people to travel and experience other cultures when they have the opportunity.

Learn more about Mojave Desert Land Trust here: