Bringing Plant Therapy to the Black Community: “Crazy Plant Bae” in New Orleans
Plants have been shown to have a range of benefits for our mental and physical health, from reducing stress and alleviating depression to improving memory retention, self-esteem, and overall productivity. That’s why Teresa Thomas, owner of “Crazy Plant Bae” in New Orleans’ Tremé community, is so passionate about sharing the power of plants with others.
The Benefits of Plant Therapy for Urban Communities
Thomas, who studied agriculture at Louisiana State University, believes that connecting with green space is especially important for urban communities like Tremé, one of the oldest African-American residential communities in the country. “Urban communities benefit from connecting to green space because it gives them a time and a place to disconnect from the pressures of society,” she said. “It forces you to slow your day down, take that time out to water your plants, and tend to them.”
Plants for Positive Energy and Stress Relief
Thomas is especially passionate about the benefits of plants for the Black community. Studies have shown that Black people experience high levels of stress and have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, making it all the more important to find ways to destress. “By bringing life into the space, we are bringing in positive energy,” she said.
Favorites: Monsteras, Snake Plants, and ZZs
Thomas has a range of favorite plants, including fruit and vegetable plants for the garden, but she also has a soft spot for indoor houseplants. “I love Monsteras,” she said. “They are the plants you think of when you think of anything tropical. I also really like snake plants and ZZs. They are native to Africa and are very resilient plants, like we have been as a people.”
Plants as Air Purifiers and Symbols of Resilience
In 1989, NASA conducted a study that showed that some popular houseplants are highly efficient air purifiers, and many of us keep plants in our homes for this reason. But there’s also a symbolic significance to plants’ ability to clean the air: “I can’t breathe” has been a powerful slogan for social justice movements, and plants’ ability to give us fresh air can be seen as a symbol of resilience in a world that can feel suffocating at times.
Feeling Like a King or Queen with Plant Therapy
At the “Crazy Plant Bae” store, there’s a regal golden chair where visitors can take photos of themselves and their plants, surrounded by lush greenery. Thomas believes that everyone, from seasoned plant enthusiasts to those just starting out, should feel like a king or queen when it comes to their relationship with plants. “Plant therapy and therapy of any kind makes selling and informing people of plants so much more meaningful for me,” she said.
In recent years, more and more people are discovering the benefits of plant therapy, and “Crazy Plant Bae” in New Orleans is a testament to the positive impact that plants can have on our lives. Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, improve your mental and physical health, or simply bring more life into your home, plants are a powerful tool that are well worth exploring.