Yesterday, January 29, 2024 –marks four years since Dominique shared this life-transforming message with me:

“Babe, I heard God say we should extend the Daniel’s Fast (removing meat and sugars from our diet).”

We were just completing our 21-day fast in January 2020 with our entire family when he uttered those words to me in private.

Initially, I was taken aback.

I could hear myself thinking in my head: “Dude, all these years we’ve been together you’ve missed some of God’s words. Now, you want to be accurate? How convenient. Just when I’m ready to eat some fish.”

Now –that was in my head. But can you blame me?

In real life, my response was more diplomatic: “Are you sure, babe? I mean — Is this instruction for all of us or just you?”

Hoping he would say the latter. Instead, he gave me that look. And, I gave him that look back. Who won the look battle?

Clearly — Dom! We continued the fast indefinitely. Four years later, I am totally plant-based. I swear I’ve been bamboozled.

A week after we continued the fast, I took a trip to Uganda and Malawi with my business partner Naomi Cook at the Virtual Global Consultant (VGC) Groupto train entrepreneurs to leverage digital technologies to build their businesses through a grant awarded by the Alliance for African Partnership at Michigan State University.

While in Malawi, I stumbled upon a chickpea meatball on the menu at the hotel. I was taken aback. I had never heard of a meatball made from chickpeas — let alone eaten one.

I ordered room service, and it was delicious. The following day, Naomi was eating a burger, and it prompted me to ask the chef to turn that chickpea meatball into a burger patty and serve it to me as a burger. He was generous and honored my request.

I was taken aback– yet again — by how delicious and wholesome I felt after eating the chickpea burger. Finally, I am eating more than salads and smoothies. Eager to share the discovery with Dom and the children, I attempted to recreate it when I returned home.

You would think I would ensure I had enough chickpeas — the main ingredient– in the house, but I didn’t. Instead, I looked in the fridge and found mushrooms. I didn’t like or eat mushrooms at the time. I quickly minced it up as I would have done the chickpeas in a food processor, added several other items like onions and seasonings, shaped it into a patty, cooked it on a skillet, and served it to Dom.

He loved it so much, and in another life-transforming statement, he said:

“Babe, let’s take it to market.

Taken aback yet again, I looked at him and immediately asked: “You said what? What do you mean by that?”

At that time, we’d been married seven years, and Dom knows that after all these years, you can cut to the chase. You don’t need to butter me up because, me and you — this is forever.

He wasn’t buttering me up. He was serious. And four years later, we’ve gone from that moment, to producing samples from our home kitchen, to producing products to sell from a shared kitchen, to moving into our dedicated facility in Eastern Market, serving more than 100 stores across the Midwest.

But, how did we get here? I ask myself that question often as I reflect on our journey.

Four years before this past four years — so eight years ago — Dom whispered another life-transforming revelation to me in private.

(There is a pattern here, right? Dom and these darn whispers.)

“Babe, I heard God say to move to Detroit.”

My response: “You heard what? Oh boy, here we go with you and your hearing.”

You see, Dom had been mentioning the idea of “Detroit” since he took a trip with a friend from college weeks after our marriage. He’d never mentioned it before that trip. That’s why it was such a curve ball for me when he began speaking about it more frequently.

His friend spent a few days sharing the history and projected future of the city — Dom was locked in. I remember being in Ghana with Dominique. He left two weeks earlier than me back to New Jersey. In those two weeks, he took a trip to Detroit, where the seed to move was planted in his spirit.

He would mention Detroit randomly during the first year or two of our marriage, and my response would be undiplomatic:

“I know you did not bamboozle me. Marry me to move me away from my entire family — in the opposite direction of Africa! This can’t be real.”

Every time he brought up Detroit, I questioned our entire marriage. I am not being dramatic. Ask my eldest sister — Adjoa. I thought we were headed straight for divorce by year two. I would call her crying weekly in confusion.

He would shake his head in frustration.

Dom knew the only move I wanted to make out of New Jersey was to Africa. We courted for four years; I made this crystal clear from day one.

His response always:

“Babe, Detroit is the blackest city in America. You can feel Africa in Detroit. They are one.”

I didn’t know much about Detroit, and I had never been until the day I drove into the city with Dom for the first time to help prepare him for his new role at Rapid Finance downtown. We left our only child at the time, Autumn Eve, just 1.5 years old, with my mother and set out for our 9-hour drive by faith after being reaffirmed of God’s message to Dom during a prophetic revival at church.

By God’s grace, the Nissan truck we were driving with broken windshield wipers made it safely into the city just as it began to downpour.

It was a very gloomy day outside, and our emotions were high, but there was a light within us waiting to beam outward. There were so many unknowns — yet peace in the chaos of navigating our new home. I remember driving down Jefferson for the first time, seeing Canada just beyond the Detroit River to our left. We pulled into the first main restaurant we found — Townhouse–to our right.

We sat down at the table, ordered, and began to eat.

As I reflect on our personal and professional journey — especially as entrepreneurs– I’ve realized the symbolic significance of our first night in Detroit at the restaurant.

Detroit offers a buffet of opportunities. Your only job is to get to the table. Whether that’s by plane or train, bike or hike — in our case, a truck — your job is to get to the table–by all means necessary. Because when you do, you can partake of the bread of opportunities and eat for life. And as a result of eating, you too can feed others.

When we arrived, we didn’t know the assignment for our lives was to launch The Mushroom Angel Companyand produce whole foods made from mushrooms to spread the good gospel of mushrooms.

Our young family was challenged for years by unemployment despite academic accolades and work experiences. But, due to Detroit’s thriving business ecosystem, we’ve transformed our lives from unemployed to employers and have begun to create our version of the “American Dream” in Detroit for our family and those connected to our mission and vision.

It’s a gentle reminder that:

Sometimes, you have to be willing to go through the wilderness to get to your promised land.

Family photo across the street from our new food production facility in Eastern Market

This year, we’re committed to telling more people about what’s happening in the heart of Detroit’s food ecosystem in Eastern Market with The Mushroom Angel. We’re continuing to scale with our partners and expanding greatly into food service. If you can support us in any way, we invite you to reach out and join our journey to eat, fly, and fly high.


This week marks 7 years since our momee (grandmother) transitioned to be with the Lord, but I feel closer to her now more than ever.

Growing up, she told us stories of her farming her land. Born in New Jersey, but raised in Ghana for a few years at a young age, I didn’t really know what that meant. I’ve lived in the suburbs and city all my life. We knew momee had a green thumb because she had plants all around her house — inside and out. But it was her stories that brought to life the secrets held in those plants. And these 20 Zimbabwean women that brought plants to my life.

Visiting an insect farm at Chinoyi University Farms

She once  told us of a story about giving birth in the house and going back out to farm her land right after to prepare food for the family. As a mother of three, I can only imagine the strength she embodied.

It’s the same strength I witnessed earlier this month in the eyes of  20 Zimbabwean rural-based women farmers as part of a fully funded U.S. Embassy grant to run a program we proposed titled Advancing Women in Agriculture Through Technology.

20 women were selected out of more than 300 applicants to complete a program titled Advancing Women in Agriculture through Technology

With each conversation, each session taught on technology and business development, each dance and laughter as we shared stories of our families and businesses, I began to fully visualize all that my momee had been transferring to me since I was a child.

I never knew back then that I would launch a tech company and food manufacturing company focused on producing whole foods made from mushrooms, but perhaps momee did.

She taught me early on the importance of sourcing food, farm to table, and how it impacts lives around the world.

Honestly, when I arrived in Zimbabwe, I was excited but depleted. Between raising three children and navigating the growth at The VGC Group and scale at The Mushroom Angel, all while managing a married life, self-care and mental health, I didn’t have much to give.

But in this case, showing up was the giver. Sometimes in life, it takes just showing up, irrespective of how you feel. That is where the power to live lies.

Momee showed up for me and as a result I showed up for the women farmers turned agribusiness entrepreneurs so that they too can show up for their families and communities.

A special thank you to our partners for helping to bring this vision to reality: U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe, Strategically Positioning Lives in Technology (SPLiT), Women in Agriculture (WAU).

I am back home with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to break through to the next level of impact through the food productions of mushrooms.




The journey is a long one — perhaps never-ending.

Sometimes, it feels like you’re shining bright in daylight, yet it’s dark because no one sees you. I know how that feels. It doesn’t always feel good, but it leads to greatness. I’ve learned this along my journey:

Darkness is not merely an absence but a canvas of infinite possibilities.

Consider your dreams — whether good or bad, happy or sad. They happen at night in the dark.

Consider planting. Seeds are shoved down into a deep hole and covered up. It’s seeded in the dark.

It is in this primal state of darkness that potential is boundless and from which all things, be it dreams or seeds, begin.

I remember our first pitch competition at Start Garden in 2022 — just 1 year after we began selling in the marketplace. Dominique and I were happy to learn that we were selected as finalists. We prepared our 5-minute pitch presentation and drove 2.5 hours from Detroit to Grand Rapids to pitch. We were confident in our origin story, current growth, and mission.

We arrived in time, met the other contestants, and we were finally called up to pitch. We felt good about our pitch. I don’t remember thinking negatively about our first time pitching together — I remember sitting on the edge of our chairs to hear the winner’s announcement.

It wasn’t us. We didn’t win. We asked one of the judges on the way out the reason, and he said: “Everything was great about your pitch, but you didn’t communicate how this award would create a catalytic impact on your business growth. You had the perfect pitch, but we felt the money would better impact the contestant we selected.”

We took the feedback, but we were shocked and equally hurt. I can tell you from that moment onward, we focused heavily on communicating the catalytic impact.If you’ve heard me speak or share about the business in any way, I have a habit now of using that very specific phrase, as that will never be our downfall ever again.

Founder’s Fellowship kickoff session sharing about hopes and fears and the catalytic impact we’re aiming for

We created another opportunity to win a pitch by applying again. This time, it was a pitch sponsored by Samuel Adams titled Brewing the American Dream. The big difference about this pitch was that there was no PowerPoint presentation. It was a 2-minute practiced pitch to an audience in a theater.

The environment (the rules of the game) changed, but our strategy didn’t, and that was our next downfall. Dom and I tagged-teamed the pitch as we had done at the Start Garden pitch, but it didn’t align with our strengths. Although we had been assigned a coach and learned our part in the script, it didn’t translate in the new environment — and for that reason, we didn’t make it through the pitch in the allotted time.

We didn’t have to wait for the judges to make the announcement; we knew right there on the stage. We also forgot to share our marketing material with the judges. Talk about fumbling at the end zone.

Fortunately, everyone was surprised with a $1,000 grant for participating and becoming finalists in the pitch. This elevated the hurt a bit, but it still felt dark.

Founders (left to right): Achsha Jones, Tripslip, Sheri Washington, Michigan Mobility & Logistics, Wendy Ekua (W.E.) Da’Cruz and Dominique Da’Cruz, The Mushroom Angel Company, Ann Larson, Intermode, Karissma Yve, Gildform

They say the third time is a charm; we can attest to this.

Dominique and I applied for the Making it in Michigan Pitch competition sponsored by the Michigan Good Food Fund. I remember Dominique and I recording and submitting our pitch while vending at Expo West in Anaheim, California. We submitted it just in time before the deadline on the East Coast.

We were selected as finalists and allowed to pitch live in person at the Making It in Michigan food show a few months later. The rules of the game changed again. There was no presentation, on a stage but ONLY ONE PERSON could represent the company. We too changed our strategy.

Dominique is the best quarterback in the game. He threw me the ball, and I ran it across the end zone.

For the first time since the inception of our business, we won our first pitch competition for $3,000. Talk about a comeback!

You see, we had experienced a series of dark moments up until then. But, the darkness implored us to keep dreaming and seeding, ultimately creating the opportunity for a significant win.

Those experiences reminded us of this principle truth:

There is nothing to find in life but everything to create.

This is why the journey to being “found” as a “Founder” is perhaps never-ending. This is because creating not finding is the goal.

Being found oftentimes limits our focus to what has already been done when the weight should be on what more there is to do.

How do you do this? Good question.

Loose the title and win the experience.

This was our approach when we applied for the Founder’s Fellowship sponsored by NewLab Detroit and Michigan Central.

We focused on communicating the catalytic impact that could be created by receiving an award and access to mentorship.

We’ve gone from winning $3,000 to $30,000 — that’s 10x. See the power of darkness?

We’re grateful to have been selected as part of the inaugural group at NewLab Detroit. Thank you to all those who helped make this possible. Your selection to include The Mushroom Angel company will not be in vain.

To all those reading, we invite you to support us on this journey by purchasing at a local Meijer near youhere. Like, share and help us spread the good gospel of mushrooms.





The Digital Diplomat