Was I Crazy to move from the Equator back to Northeast Ohio? No.

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People are so willing to offer a helping hand, to listen and to try something new. When you are an entrepreneur, having someone open a door for you means something totally different – and everybody knows nobody will do that like an Ohioan.

I grew up here and everybody knows it must be one of the cloudiest spots in the United States. Four beautiful seasons, sure, but the North Coast isn’t for the faint of heart. So when I decided to move back to Cleveland, after two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in sunny Suriname, a little country in South America just above the equator, I knew what I was signing up for. (Interested to know what Peace Corps was like? Check out this documentary!)

Evan in EcuadorEvan in the traditional dress of Suriname while in the Peace Corps. 

But still, that first winter? Then this second one? What was I thinking?!

I’m toughing it out (tan fading, layers accumulating) and I’ll tell you the #1 reason why I moved back to Cleveland.

The Community is just so strong

When I came back, I knew I wanted to open a social good business. My company, Peaceful Fruits, makes snacks out of açaí, a healthy, Amazon superfruit. Our açaí is wild-harvested by local communities in the rainforest, supporting preservation of the jungle and sustainable economic development for the people.

SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons Why I Chose Cleveland For My Family

Acai berriesFresh-picked Acai berries. 

The culture of foodies and entrepreneurship – and community development – is incredibly vibrant in Cleveland and the surrounding areas.  And that’s exactly the stuff I work on through Peaceful Fruits.

Food is an important part of every culture. Food connects us. My snacks connect you to the Amazon Rainforest. We let you enjoy one of the most incredible, renewable resources of the forest, and help ensure it will be there for future generations.

The other coasts are more acquainted with açaí than Ohio, but I have been blown away by the level of support for what I am trying to do.

People are so willing to offer a helping hand, to listen and to try something new. When you are an entrepreneur, having someone open a door for you means something totally different – and everybody knows nobody will do that like an Ohioan. People just jump up willing to help around here.  And that is incredible.

I went to college in New York and I know what it’s like. In NYC, you can meet a stranger and five minutes later be explaining your business plan for how your startup will change the world. It’s exciting and empowering, those lights really can inspire you.

But, around here, people go out of their way to help you make it happen. So I’m proud to be back and grateful for all the support this community has offered to a new entrepreneur.

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Evan Delahanty is an Ohioan who can’t manage to stay away. He left for four years of college, came back for four years of work, left again for two years of Peace Corps, and has now been back for 18 months. He is the Founder of Peaceful Fruits, a social good snack company that makes açaí fruits snacks and supports sustainable development in the Amazon Rainforest.