Black history often centers on the pain and suffering of black people, from movable slavery to modern police atrocities. But if you look closely, you will discover a hope, community, and existence that transcends alienation, especially when it comes to plants.
Talk to two well-known plant influencers, Alexis Nikole Nelson, known as a Black Burrower on TikTok, and Kamili Bell Hill, an Instagram gardener who runs Plant Blerd and Black People with Plants, and they use the platform. I asked you to share how to celebrate. Along with the joy of blacks and the connection of plants, we have some fun plant selections that any plant lover can enjoy.
The plant “ignited in me”
“I’m so lucky to be able to love the outdoors on both sides of the family knowing that not all black kids, especially black kids in Ohio, are lucky enough to have it. It was, ”said Nelson, who still lives in Ohio.
As a child, I learned that plants that appear to be weeds are not only edible, but in some cases very tasty.
She said she understood what plants could be “kindled in me”. “In the rest of my childhood, every time someone mentions a random plant that I recognized as edible, I would say, ‘Oh, my god, okay, I have to save that later. I had to do it. “”
Nelson found use for his spiritual inventory of edible plants in college. Her budget was tight and she didn’t want to eat ramen or ice cream every day. So she started to put Nagabagishigi leaves in the stir-fried noodles and a quarter of lamb in the salad.
Currently, his TikTok channel has 2.9 million followers and 51.9 million likes. But she started out small. What started out as running a TikTok account for a business unrelated to foraging turned into Nelson and decided to explore the app on his own. When the pandemic started, she used her skills to help people access food safely and for free.
“I shot a video of walking around the neighborhood and I said, ‘I’m a little nervous going to the grocery store, so I have five plants to help me find and grow my groceries. in my neighbourhood. Presentation. ‘”The video worked very well.
Why identify her as a black forager, not just a forager?
“For me, foraging as a black woman is a rebellion through the reclamation of knowledge,” she said, captioning a video titled “Black history meets black joy” .
“I describe the joy of black people as having unlimited fun in whatever we want to do,” she said. “You don’t have to put up with it. You don’t have to worry about perception. You don’t have to worry about whether we fit into a social structure. In the morning, we just lean on what gets us out of bed. It sounds like black joy to me. “
Nelson says she finds black joy when she is herself. Outside you are in an uncharted forest, beach, or river with a small basket, trowel, and boots.
But she still has to face vandalism.
“I am always inundated with comments about my appearance, my color, my hair and my teeth. A lot of people have the right to express totally unwanted opinions about who they are and how they do it. I feel that there is. I introduce myself to the world, ”she said.
But Nelson does not accept the harassment.
When she protects herself, people sometimes react in anger, as if such a cheerful person is not allowed to react to abuse and protect herself. She said she felt some people prefer to fit minstrel stereotypes.
“Sometimes I’m still there, calm, cool and really scared to adjust to it, almost like being a mom foraging for food so she can answer unnecessary questions and comments. That’s not what we’re trying to do here, ”she said.
Nelson not only “is allowed to respond” to racist comments, but also evokes those who think his joy is only for their consumption. I like to remind people of what is forgiven.
She wants to foster a growing community where everyone can develop a taste for picking.
Where to start Nelson recommends a marine diet of edible seaweed. Other plants she’s ready to feed on include persimmon, papaya, Laportea bulbifera, and ‘keep your feet wet’ Jewel Weed, which grows near Ohio streams.
Celebrate “Everyday Black Joy”
“I grew up around my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother had an edible garden, and my mother had all the houseplants, so when I was a kid, the plants There is no corner where he is not involved. We spent Saturday together, ”says Hill, a New Yorker who works as an interior designer.
In fact, buying a fig tree with violin leaves for a customer pushed his love for gardening to excess.
“I like to do it for peace and relaxation. This means that there are many benefits, but it also feels like a real connection to my past, my grandmother and my mother. For me, plants. There are many links with. “
When she wanted to share her love for plants with others, Hill found that her friends and family weren’t so enthusiastic. So she decided to create her own community Black Gardening Plantblerd and BlackPeopleWithPlants on Instagram.
“Blerd” is a coat rack from “Blacknerd” and Hill created Plantblerd. It currently has nearly 29,000 followers as a space for blacks who turn plants into geeks.
“There was this whole community that I didn’t know anything about, and it was literally like a breath of fresh air to me, because this is what I do for my own joy and nothing to do Being a mother, wife and designate. It’s mine. It allowed me to open up to pleasure and creativity. “
BlackPeopleWithPlants – According to the Instagram biography, the “Love Letter to Blacks with Plants” features black gardeners around the world. The account has approximately 31,000 subscribers.
“We are more than hashtags. There is more than trauma in our lives, ”she said. “I want to celebrate the joy of our blacks on a daily basis.”
Hill opened this Instagram account in the summer of 2020. After the murders of George Floyd and Breona Taylor, we noticed that more black content was featured on social platforms as Black Lives Matter was all the rage. But only in response to the death and suffering of black people. The Black Lives Matter alliance quickly began to decline and black content, especially those focused on Black Joy, became difficult for her to find.
So she decided to create a page focused on the collective joy of the community of black gardeners.
“I describe the joy of black people impulsively and very kindly. I think it’s really important because the plants are healed. And collectively we need healing. As you know, I think our community still has the stigma of looking for traditional remedies. Plants are very therapeutic, ”she said.
The trauma of slavery can be seen as separating black people from the pleasure of feeding the land. Personal horticulture under slavery was often practiced to supplement a poor diet. Search for food to facilitate the escape. For Hill and others, rediscovering a connection with joy can be a catharsis that modern medicine and treatments don’t always achieve.
“If you have a bunch of people you desperately need [a healing connection with plants]They are people of color, mostly blacks. So I think that’s why it’s really important for black people to grow up. I encourage the black people I meet to have plants in their lives. “
Hill helps people have plants in their life by always having cuttings or succulents ready to go home with their guests.
Hill recommends the classic Monstera Deliciosa. “The leaves are those big, beautiful windowed leaves and that glowing neon green. They give me great joy.
She also offers to grow sea squirts, mini monstera, ZZ plants, mandurah potos and golden potos.
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