Each year, University graduates leave school on divergent paths — some enter the workforce or enroll in master’s programs, while others travel the world. Class of 2018 alumna Carrington Kernodle chose a more unique path, as she started a popular vegan food blog called “Parts Homegrown.”
As an African-American and African studies and philosophy double major, Kernodle was inspired to lead a healthy and ethical lifestyle. Her studies prompted her to ask herself “Who am I as a person, and what do I actually value?” Kernodle decided to live with pure intentions by doing no harm or at least as little harm as she possibly could.
During her time at the University, Kernodle balanced her studies with being a fitness instructor at the Aquatic & Fitness Center for two years. Kernodle also transitioned to a vegan diet during her time at the University. Today, Kernodle juggles the lifestyle of a professional vegan food blogger with an audience of about 2,400 people alongside a full-time job as a project administrator at M.C. Dean, an electrical company in Charlottesville.
As Kernodle became confident with her vegan lifestyle, she also explored a minimalistic approach to life, sharing it all through her blog Parts Homegrown. She thought her more minimalistic approach would attract other people since many are easily discouraged by the expenses that come with gym and diet culture. Kernodle strove to show people how to have a great life without spending a lot of money.
“It’s knowing how to spend that money only spending money on what you like,” Kernodle said. “But you need to know who you are as a person first and foremost.”
Through her blog, Kernodle continues to help people get rid the consumerist idea that you need to have a lot of “stuff” in order to be fulfilled. Her primary goal is to teach others how to cultivate a sustainable life that’s full of joy and within their means — whatever their means are. Kernodle aims to teach others how to have that kind of life, especially through a holistically conscious, plant-based approach.
“It’s very important for me to let people know that you can live a very good and simple life,” Kernodle said. “You don’t need to be famous, you don’t need to be a doctor, you don’t need to make more than 50K a year — you can absolutely do it with a full-time class load and a full-time job.”
Kernodle’s transition to a vegan lifestyle, however, did not start during her time at the University but rather when she was 15 years old. At 15, Kernodle gave up red meat. At 18, she stopped eating dairy, and when she was 19, she gave up pork and chicken. Kernodle officially became vegan in February 2016 after she gave up eggs.
“One day I was just like making an omelet and said maybe this is the last one I’ll eat — and that’s it, I was vegan,” Kernodle said.
Kernodle decided to change her diet because she was very interested and passionate about the environment and ethics. She also realized she would save a lot of money by not buying meat and dairy.
Initially, Kernodle emphasized a healthy lifestyle by focusing on physical exercise rather than her food habits. At the University she was known as a gym-rat, as she was a certified trainer and a group fitness class instructor at the AFC during her second and third year. Kernodle taught HIIT, core-cardio and “zumba-esque” classes. Many of Kernodle’s peers would ask her for advice which prompted her to become a certified trainer so that she could give proper tips.
In 2017, the summer before her fourth year, Kernodle switched her focus to healthy eating. She decided that it would be nice not to have to go to the gym all of the time. She knew people who lived completely normal and simple lives and didn’t go to the gym but were still in shape and realized she could do that as well.
“I decided I was going to live a relaxed life,” Kernodle said. “I was going to do yoga, go for walks and eat a reasonable amount of food.”
In addition to her blog, Kernodle has connected with others through organizations which share her values like Veggies of Virginia, a CIO on Grounds focusing on sustainable, vegan lifestyles. Kernodle gave a talk for VOV March 18 where she spoke about what veganism could look like for people and also how her experience as a food blogger has been — and all the free food that comes with the job. At the talk she also tried to help show students how to navigate veganism and be proud of the lifestyle.
Breanna Bowman, Kernodle’s friend of five years, has witnessed Kernodle’s transition into the vegan lifestyle and admires her commitment and patience with others who don’t necessarily share the same point of view.
“A lot of people can say they want to do things, but she literally does any and everything that she wants,” Bowman said.
Kernodle’s passion for health is not only noticed by her close friends, but also people in the community she has interacted with.
“Kernodle brings a kind heart and witty perspective everywhere she goes,” Secretary of VOV Josh Crane said. “It was fascinating to hear about her experiences as a vegan food blogger, along with her recommendations on tasty meals in C'ville and beyond.”
Kernodle still likes to volunteer for VOV and attend potlucks when she can. Kernodle spoke to how much the University and VOV mean to her since she no longer lives in her hometown of Danville, Va.
“This is my home and my people,” Kernodle said. “I donate whenever I can my time, energy, love and money to these communities.”