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Planting with Pride: Nurturing Community Roots for Food Justice

July 2, 2024

Green 2.0 Team

Planting with Pride attendees framing a garden bed full of leafy greens. Photo credit: Plantita Power.

By Steph Niaupari

Steph Niaupari is the Founder of Plantita Power, a DC-based collective led by and for Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTBIPOC). Plantita Power fosters community connections where QTBIPOC can nurture their own personal sustenance, relationship to food, and reclaim food sovereignty. In this blog, they discuss their recent event Planting with Pride, and how other organizations can build safe and inclusive spaces for QTBIPOC people.

On June 16, 2024, a powerful spirit of joy and purpose pulsed at Beet Street Garden, a community garden tucked away on a small hill in Northeast D.C. The air was filled with the sounds of hammers, laughter, and lively Latin pop music as Plantita Power hosted Planting with Pride in partnership with the Latinx History Project, DC Food Power Network, and Latino Outdoors DC Chapter. This gathering was more than just an opportunity to get our bodies connected with the ground; it was a testament to our collective commitment to creating inclusive, empowering spaces for Queer and Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTBIPOC).

The Beet Street Garden, nestled in the historically Black neighborhood of Grant Park, has been a community staple for over 16 years and left in the sole care of Miss Joann Reid–a long-time resident and trusted community member. Together with her grandkids, Miss Joann tends to the garden almost daily and teaches the neighborhood youth about gardening and harvesting from the lush fruit trees there.

For about 2 years now, Plantita Power has been working with Miss Joann to support her work with the garden. We made sure to collaborate with Miss Joann for the planning of this event; which also served as a reflection of Plantita Power’s mission to connect with communities throughout the DMV area. The day’s agenda included removing severely worn-out wood boards, building new garden beds, assembling a new tool shed, and adding soil and fertilizer for new and existing plants.

Transportation was also thoughtfully arranged, ensuring that anyone who wanted to participate could join in the effort. This attention to detail underscores our commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, core values at the heart of Plantita Power.

Planting with Pride attendees posing arm in arm with Miss Joann. Photo credit: Plantita Power.

Bridging Communities During Pride

Hosting Planting with Pride during Pride Month was a deliberate choice. It allowed us to share our joy and skills as LGBTQ people while addressing our intertwined experiences of food injustice faced as BIPOC individuals. As we worked side by side, we were reminded of the power of collective action. Since this event was a BIPOC-only space, we called on White people to support us through donations, eventually raising about $1,000. This collaboration exemplified how allies can support without overshadowing, providing resources while allowing QTBIPOC voices to lead.

Authentic Empowerment Over Performative Actions

Planting with Pride attendees standing and smiling behind a lush lavender bush. Photo credit: Plantita Power.

Plantita Power is a collective of QBIPOC community members dedicated to creating safe and empowering spaces for other BIPOC individuals. Our events are exclusively for BIPOCs because we recognize the need for spaces to exist where our community can embrace their full selves and heal with the earth from the daily repression of a White-privileging world. These moments of collectiveness are necessary for self-nourishment and community longevity.

We firmly believe in the importance of long-term relationship building, which contrasts sharply with the performative volunteerism seen in many organizations. Too often, external groups impose their own agendas, making decisions that don’t align with the community’s needs. This approach perpetuates a cycle of dependency, which fails to solve the root causes of food access issues and resource scarcity.

We strive to nurture authentic relationships where BIPOC communities feel genuinely supported and learn the tools they need to reconcile their relationship to the land. Events like Planting with Pride are crucial for fostering these connections and building a foundation for sustained community resilience.

A Call to Action

The success of Planting with Pride highlights the urgent need for more initiatives that are led by and for the communities they aim to serve. We call on YOU to support local organizations that are dedicated to building inclusive, community-led spaces. We need active, engaged participation to build and sustain the spaces that will help our communities thrive—one plantita at a time.

These projects advance near-term wins and are laying the groundwork for lasting transformation. By At Plantita Power, we believe that every small act of planting and nurturing can grow into a powerful movement for food justice and community liberation. Join us in this journey. Support our mission, contribute to our efforts, and help us cultivate a future where every QTBIPOC individual can reclaim their right to food sovereignty.

To learn more, follow us on Instagram @PlantitaPower or donate at