plant matter 6.26

over the past few weeks i’ve done a lot of turning inward. letting myself be a little quieter. listening more.

for whatever reason, i woke up this morning feeling motivated to start integrating some of the ideas i’ve been ruminating on, one of which is returning focus to the subject that first got me interested in environmental science. if you spend a lot of time on scholarship dot claremont dot edu then you might know that i wrote my senior research thesis on the impact of urban agriculture in chicago. but in the much more likely event that you do not, i’ll give you a little background. the summer before my senior year, i interned at the talking farm and was enthralled by the community of growers and activists working to create more sustainable foodways all throughout the city. i spent the next many months learning about how powerful a tool urban agriculture can be, not only from an environmental perspective, but from a social justice perspective as well.

as the accelerated emphasis on anti-racism in media has rightfully brought black educators and activists to the fore, i have learned about some amazing organizations and individuals growing food in my city that i had not previously been aware of. it’s made me realize how inadequate my efforts have been to truly seek out a diversity of voices in my own continued sustainability education. all of that to say, i’m feeling super energized to research, learn from, and support urban agriculture initiatives in chicago and beyond.

two i’ve recently been inspired by:

smooth and social roots is an urban farm on the south side of chicago growing fresh, nourishing produce for the historically underresourced east garfield park community. they are seeking volunteers to help with web and social media development, farming, and packing and delivery. email to apply!

urban growers collective is an organization that partners with farms, gardens, and education programs in chicago to build economic opportunity for youth and mitigate food insecurity. that description truly does not begin to cover all of the impactful work these folks are doing, so here is where you can read more about them. you can also get your hands dirty and volunteer every saturday at their south chicago farm! register here.


tuesday 9:30am - flow slow at coconut yoga

a beginner-friendly 60-minute class to start your day feeling gooooood.

sunday 11:00am - all levels flow

45 minutes of stretching and strength building, plenty of modifications offered, everybody welcome (pay what you can: venmo maia-welbel).

a question for you - would you be interested in recorded classes that you can take any time? if you can’t make it to my sunday class but want to try it out, please let me know in advance and i can send it to you directly! price for recordings will be $15.

sweet treats

a few people have asked me whether i’m still delivering my vegan baked goods.

a) i am honored that you are extending your attention / interest to me 😭

b) sort of!

i’m thrilled and grateful that y’all have been ordering since the literal first day i launched—truly overwhelmed with the positive response. the flip side of that, unfortunately, is that it became rather stressful to be regularly baking large quantities in a small kitchen that i share with four other humans. SO if you have a craving for a plant-based sweet treat, a special occasion, a friend who could use something delicious, or even a custom request, i will happily still fulfill your order. buuut it might take a little longer to get to you and i probably won’t be advertising much publicly (consider this your exclusive newsletter family offer).


bide virtual market and speaker series is this sunday 1pm-5pm. a whole bunch of sustainable, plastic-free, vegan, and cruelty-free brands will be featured, and i’m excited to hear from the incredible line up of speakers, including leah thomas (who i wrote about last week). tickets are free.

call your girlfriend was one of the first podcasts i wholeheartedly committed to (way back in 2014 i think?), but somewhere between then and now i fell behind on listening and i recently found myself with an abundant catalogue of eps to catch up on—a podcast enthusiast’s dream! you really can’t go wrong with anything ann and amina do, but i thought this episode was especially delightful.

one of the aforementioned podcast’s hosts, ann friedman, writes a really spectacular weekly newsletter that you also might enjoy.

the endlessly inspiring amber tamm raised over $100,000 to build a farm that is regenerative to its land and nourishing to its community. here she answers some questions about what exactly that will look like. and you can still donate to support this crucial work.

i look forward to feeling extra grounded and expansive every wednesday evening after maxine’s 6pm gyrotonic class. the practice truly accessible no matter your movement background. send her a dm or email to be added to the list, and get ready to feel more spacious in your body than you ever have before.

kelsey philippi might be the most multi-passionate human being i know. she’s definitely the only one i know who researches endangered frog species, goes birding in tall grass prairies, advocates for women’s health daily, is a certified yoga teacher, makes her own furniture, and built a ceramics studio in her home. friends, she once spent multiple hours with me at my dining room table teaching me how to organize my gmail inbox. the purpose of this paragraph was not to gush about kelsey, i actually wanted you to know that she recently launched a bespoke home goods business and you can order her work by emailing but i thought the other stuff was important too.

this should go without saying, but please please, if you haven’t already, register to vote and either fill out an absentee ballot or make your plan for election day. this is one of the most important opportunities you have to advocate for your values—i know you know this! we are all depending on each other to show up.

i leave you with this potent article by sustainable business expert moji igun on how to utilize both individual and systemic action to create a more resilient future (via cura co). p.s. moji is a contributor on closed loop cooking!

thank you for reading, my loves. i hope you have some space to turn inward this weekend. be gentle with yourselves.