plant matter 6.17

hello dear friends, how are we holding up?

we are living through revolutionary times. there is so much to grieve. so much cause for hope.

i first want to acknowledge all of the people, specifically black women, who have been sharing information, experience, and insight across the internet over these past few weeks, and whom i have learned an enormous amount from. they are doing so out of sheer generosity and for that i am so grateful.

just to shout out a few:

sophia roe, my forever fave ‘food and feelings lady.’ i suggest you make her your go-to gal for wellness and snack content. i had the absolute HONOR of interviewing sophia for closed loop cooking a few months ago and you can read our conversation here.

“here’s the thing with wellness—you are only as well as the equal sum of your community. you might be this yoga-going vegan taking tinctures and all this stuff, but if your neighbor is starving then so are you.”

leah thomas, the founder of intersectional environmentalist. since studying environmental justice in college, i have been aware of the link between racism and environmental degradation. however, i have not done nearly enough to substantiate and address that in my sustainability advocacy work. i am excited to dive into the resources on this new platform and make intersectionality a priority moving forward.

“this is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. it identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. it brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality. intersectional environmentalism advocates for justice for people + the planet.”

regina kankinza of in her it blooms. i was initially drawn in by this enlightening video she made about the roots of herbalism in america and how it’s been unjustly co-opted by white people. regina shares her deep knowledge of plant medicine with approachability and playfulness, and i can’t wait to learn more from her (also thrilled to be adding oxymel to my self-care toolbox).

there is not enough acknowledgement and reverence for the contributions of african peoples to our understanding of plant knowledge here in america. one of the biggest erasures about slavery has been to explain slavery as just stealing labor… the truth is they got advanced civilizations with expert agricultural technologies to come here.”


last week we came together through movement and raised $215 for brave space alliance, a black-led, trans-led lgbtq center on the south side of chicago. if you haven’t yet, i highly encourage you to check out their work and donate if you can. monday’s (finally) good news proved how powerful we can be when we show up collectively—let’s not let the work stop here.

every sunday i am teaching a 45-min all-levels yoga flow at 11am cst. email me to register in advance or join through this page on my website. (accepting requests always if you’ve got something in particular you’d like to work on / stretch out). pay what you can! venmo: maia-welbel


the fact that semicolon is chicago's only black woman-owned bookstore is truly maddening, but man does this small biz do the work. not only does semicolon curate a beautiful selection of books and a welcoming space to discover them, the founder danielle mullen has also raised thousands of dollars to improve literacy rates in chicago through her #cleartheshelves campaign, which provides books at no cost to cps students in need. in this podcast interview danielle explains that when students come in to choose their books they are given free rein to peruse the shelves and make their selections, and then check out at the register just like any other customer. the thoughtfulness behind granting them this well-deserved (duh) dignity really struck me. buy your books from semicolon, friends! and support #cleartheshelves if you can.

author and pop culture commentator r. eric thomas is one of my favorite people on the internet. his newsletter, ‘here for it’ makes me cry-laugh every single week. nothing i say could do justice to this man’s prowess with the english language so i’m just going to leave you with these two articles to see for yourself: ‘dr. fauci says we should stop handshakes; here's what we should do instead’ and ‘how dare stanley tucci look so hot making a negroni: an investigation’.

my friend taylor morrison is the founder of inner workout — a self-care practice for your whole being. classes focus on connecting deeply to yourself and others through movement, breathwork, meditation, and journaling. this practice is truly unlike any other wellness or exercise methodology, only someone as compassionate and savvy as taylor could have created it. she’s teaching a live mini class on instagram tomorrow (thurs) at 7:30pm cst if you want to try it out! and if you miss that one she’s got all sorts of on-demand offerings on her website.

speaking of exercise, i’ve taken a few virtual classes with good day pilates and very much enjoyed them (to the extent that one can enjoy being guided through movements that make one’s abs and butt muscles feel like they might liquefy).

i am probably the millionth person to recommend this podcast episode with brené brown and glennon doyle, but please do yourself a favor and listen. at one point glennon brings up how being called ‘selfless’ is seen as the highest of compliments for a woman to receive and how fundamentally problematic that is. i still haven’t stopped thinking about it.

thank you as always for showing up here. please do let me know if you’ve got something you’d like me to share with this community.

and if you know someone who might enjoy plant matter in their inbox, why not send it their way?

keep doing the work!