Profiles in Green: Whoa… I gained a LIFE!

Johanna Hoffman

Johanna Hoffman

Profiles in Green is an on-going series on how people incorporate or express sustainability in their lives.

Growing Up and Through

Green & Main, “a pilot project improving the renovation of an abandoned mixed-use brick building located at 800 19th Street in the Sherman Hill Historic District” (as described by, was just a rundown brick building that my friends and I used to drive by as we came from the city’s west side to hit “the loop.”

In the years since actively chasing boys at the loop, peppered with heart break, a few too many alcoholic beverages, late nights and a family with children who are now grown and following their own paths, I evolved from being a child growing up in the ‘70’s to early ‘80’s into an individual who is conscious of what I put in my body – both internally and externally.

I have made a number of life changes, each of which has left a mark someplace, much like a grove of trees leveled for parking expansion or driving down what used to be a “top notch” neighborhood to see that 1/3 of the housing stock is vacant, abandoned and generally an eye-sore. I did not want to be an eye-sore any longer (to myself or others I cared about) and I began to really evaluate my time here on Earth. Beginning with the impact I make by choosing the services I use, the products I purchase and where my money comes from, I began with me. Next, I looked at the people in my life and what I liked about them. I began to immerse myself in books and groups that supported my growing and changing interests. The long and short of it is that I began a more holistic approach to life.

Life Changes and Sustainability

More recently, I was temporarily living in a type of communal environment with a free-spirited Reiki master, whom I found through holistic connections. My personal interests in health, healing and the earth all manifested into one very obvious move for me to make – dump my then dead-end job in Pella that I commuted to daily (I might as well have picked Timbuktu) from Des Moines and apply at Indigo Dawn (the development company that owns Green & Main and is also responsible for producing the Natural Living Expo and its newest addition, the Healthy Living Expo). I was in HOG HEAVEN! I had sustainability on all levels at home and at my job.

This move meant giving up certain niceties like paid vacation, sick time and health benefits. However, I felt more at home and I was doing something I valued in all parts of my life. As a side note, years previously I had purchased a Victorian home in Riverbend and went through the multi-year process of restoring it. Because the house was on the National Register of Historic Places, I was able to apply for grants from the city and state.

So, take my interest in historic residences and couple it with holistic sensibilities and we have how I became interested in Green & Main. And, in the process…Whoa…I gained a life.

Editor’s note: For other comments by Johanna Hoffman, visit here.


– Johanna Hoffman is a database administrator and project manager for Indigo Dawn and the Green & Main Pilot Project. She loves to drum and to dance.


  1. Donni Alley says

    Two words: “Right on!”

  2. Michelle Peiffer says

    What a great article to learn more about you, Johanna. Even though we share office space only a few days a week, I can see your holistic choices create positive energy that radiates from inside you :-) Thanks so much for sharing your story!

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