A note from Shelley
Gjournals is a combination of long and short form stories, poems, photos, illustrations, songs, and videos that represent the melting pot that is the 400 strong Gjelina Group crew, our vendors, the customers who frequent our spaces locally and from afar, and the friends and mentors we meet along our way.
For those of you who are learning about Gjournals before having visited with the Gjelina Group in Venice, CA – the G is silent. Gjelina, our first restaurant founded in 2008, is named after founder Fran’s mother. Growing up in Montenegro of Albanian heritage, Gjelina is one of seven sisters who grew up in a two-roomed house that is still in the family today.
Gjelina Take Away (GTA) followed in 2011. Gjusta, one of Gjelina’s sisters, is the namesake of Gjusta Bakery in 2014, Gjusta Goods in 2016 and Gjusta Grocer in 2021. Fran’s brother is Gjon, his niece is Gjulia. The GJ is an important part of our identity, hence GJ Flower shop, GJ Studios, GJ Foundation. And now, Gjournals. A group founded on family. It also means we have five more sister’s names to play with in our future growth.
Gjournals is a space where contributors share stories around the subjects of farming practices, seasonal eating, community, and social justice. Our goal with Gjournals is to establish interconnectivity with the reader to the communities, food, and practices that shape the Gjelina Group.
Many of the topics that our contributors write about we have some insight into through our daily work at the group. Gjournals allows us the opportunity to do a deeper dive into these subjects, and by virtue of this, we meet more people, and our collective world continues to expand.
At the point of launching Gjournals we are embarking on our most exciting growth period: art studios with a residency program, a grocer, a flower shop, a dark room, an event rental arm, a media arm, another Valle, a production kitchen, opening Gjelina in NYC, and our first hotel on the horizon. Let me open a book shop and run a farm, and I can rest easy I say. But there really is no end game. I am led entirely by a desire to learn more.
Gjournals encapsulates aspects of our past, our now, and our future. Thank you for joining along the route, never perfect, always us.
Sign up for Gjournals here:
We accept submissions via firstname.lastname@example.org
The GJ Foundation is a 501c3 registered nonprofit dedicated to uplift communities through the support of programs committed to food, farming, arts, social justice, and environmental sustainability. It was started by Fran in 2010 as a volunteer program in the local public school system in Venice, CA and the Venice Public School system is still central to the Foundation. The Foundation has evolved to now support communities in NYC and Oaxaca.
By subscribing to Gjournals, your contribution will be going directly into the Foundation, and will be used to grow current and new initiatives.