Wow, y'all, the world has completely turned on its head! First coronavirus and now #BlackLivesMatter protests the world over. I hope you are safe and healthy and my biggest hope is that we come out of this better and more compassionate than before, more in touch with nature and love, and what really matters when it truly comes down to it.
I'm so glad I waited to post this episode because it's so perfectly timely for what's going on in the wide world right now. This episode of the Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft podcast was conducted in a new and creative way. Back in early March, I interviewed the serendipitous crew of SV (Sailing Vessel) Tulsi, discussing many things BIPOC. Haven't heard the acronym "BIPOC" before? It stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. This interview focuses on my new friend, Owl, his podcast, QTPOC Talks, and why he felt the need to start the podcast.
Since this podcast was recorded, Owl and his partner, Brian, have lost their housing and been forced to move. Please help them by donating to their gofundme fundraiser to help them relocate.
On this beautiful almost spring evening, SV Tulsi was anchored in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, Florida. The hosts/captains of the boat are Erica Klopf and Greg Wilkerson. Erica is doing fantastic work as a permaculturist focusing on spreading edible plants throughout Florida. Greg is moving from being a western medical nurse toward a more herb inclusive practice.
Owl Rare, besides hosting the QTPOC Talks (QTPOC is an acronym for Queer and Trans People of Color) podcast, is an Herbalist, making herbal skin products that are especially suited for the needs of Black skin. They are also a yoga teacher, artist, and figure model. They and their partner, Bryan Oliver Green, are from Philadelphia. Bryan is a writer, filmmaker, and teaching artist. He tells about the organization that he has taught for, Scribe Video Center. Bryan says Scribe puts media in the hands of marginalized and disenfranchised people who often don't have access to things like filmmaking. It also teaches them to tell their stories, something so important right now.
Melissa Honeybee has worked with indigenous people in herbalism in Hawaii and beyond and wants to support the plants and unity of all people. And then there's me. I want to be a better ally to all people. As my dear friend and co-teacher/co-founder of the Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft, Becky Beyer, says: much of the knowledge we have about plants and their benefits originally came from indigenous people, slaves, and other marginalized folx. In exchange, for that knowledge, we can give gratitude by asking ourselves how we can be of service to their descendants. I love this! I'm currently getting ready to ship some herbs and herbal medicines to native elders in North Dakota and others on the front lines of the protests, along with trying to expose the work of BIPOC people to a larger audience. (Wanna help? Email me for more info.)
Owl started QTPOC Talks to "bridge the gap between media and artists." They say the algorithms are set to disadvantage a certain type of person. You don't see too many Queer/Trans People of Color glorified for what they're doing. Then they said that "anything that's easy isn't worth doing." And I totally agree. It's time to do the hard work, to stand up against racism and prejudice, and as Owl says, know when to use our voices and when to be quiet to give marginalized voices room to talk and be heard.
"Being compassionate and understanding when another
human being is sharing their energy with me,
having an open heart and open mind,
is really what's needed." - Owl
There is so much more to say here and so much more to the interview, including the struggles of attaining education as a Person of Color, skincare for Black folx, and food as medicine. I don't want to go on, I want you to listen, really listen, to what is said and think about how you can go forth to create a better, more compassionate world.
Please donate to Owl and Bryan's relocation fund.
If you'd like to support this podcast, which I provide free of charge to help make the world a better, healthier place, please join the Foraged Family on Patreon. As a reward, you'll get my educational video of Erica Klopf showing and talking about prickly pear cactus, along with how to forage and cook it.
To connect more with Owl and see all the amazing work they're doing, check out:
OwlRare on Instagram
Adventures with Owl website
Check out the super cool project of SV Tulsi and their floating concerts on YouTube.
I also want to be an ally by giving more exposure to People of Color's voices, so am including just a tiny bit of the huge amount of BIPOC resources and knowledge that's out there. Please include your faves in the comments, so we can all continue to learn.
Knowledge from BIPOC folks:
The BIPOC Project - "People of color have always understood the need for our own spaces without white people present, for our own safety and healing. The BIPOC Project expands on this fundamental understanding and seeks to directly address the gaps in building authentic and sustainable solidarity."
Anti-racism for Beginners - "Diving into the world of anti-racism for the first time can be confronting. It may feel challenging to understand your place and where to begin with educating yourself. Luckily, there are endless resources online to help you learn about anti-racism work, dismantle the unconscious biases that exist within yourself, and take action to create a more just society."
The Creative Root - "Offering affordable online classes, one-on-one wellness consultations, and seasonal small-batch herbal products. We are a community-based & Black woman owned/operated company."
Botany Everyday - A by donation ongoing online botany course offered by my dear friend and incredibly talented ethnobotanist/biologist, Marc Williams. He also runs the nonprofit Plants and Healers International.
@countrygentlemancooks - Offering botanical education and insights into what it's currently like to be a Black botanist (on Instagram)
On Being (NPR Radio Show) Notice the Rage, Notice the Silence - In this episode, Krista Tippett interviews Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies about the book and his work with intergenerational trauma, how it shows up in the body, and how we can heal it.
On Being Tending Joy and Practicing Delight - Krista interviewed writer Ross Gay. "The ephemeral nature of our being allows him to find delight in all sorts of places (especially his community garden). To be with Gay is to train your gaze to see the wonderful alongside the terrible; to attend to and meditate on what you love, even in the midst of difficult realities and as part of working for justice."
@iamtabithabrown - Fantastically witty, Tabitha Brown, shares her healthy recipes, moments with her family, and features products from Black-owned businesses. She is hilarious and has helped lift my spirits during these dark times.
@sheinatacarnhall - Offers knowledge on Crystal Medicine Healing and Crystal Tarot Readings on Instagram
Farming While Black - Spotlighting the work of Leah Penniman, "educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land." Check out the great webinar she presented for the American Herbalists Guild on The Plants of Black Freedom.
@inheritblooms - "Herbalist. Daughter of the dust & diaspora. I show you how to take charge of your health w/ plants, ritual & reverence, so you can live life on purpose." Also delicious recipes with herbs and foraged foods (on Instagram).
Want to help us continue to do this important work