Taking Care with Quianah Upton

Posted by: Sara Jane Emmons

Taking care by nourishing each other.

Quianah Upton, founder of Nourish Botanica.

When it comes to self-care, there’s more to it than just doing a face mask or a good night’s sleep. Oftentimes, we forget how much self-care is actually rooted in our connection to community, and the fulfillment we get from taking care of the people around you. No one embodies that more than Quianah Upton, an Atlanta-based artist and activist working to build Nourish Botanica, a greenhouse eatery and community space. We were fortunate enough to chat with her about her future plans to build Nourish Botanica, her ongoing community wellness initiatives, and how she takes time to care for herself.

Hi! Tell us about yourself.

My name is Quianah Upton and I am an Atlanta-based creative entrepreneur, event producer and social justice advocate and organizer. I am also an artist working with embroidery, floral arrangement & spatial design. I am an army brat and part of my childhood was spent growing up in a food insecure neighborhood in South Florida.

What was the initial idea behind starting your project, Nourish Botanica?

Nourish Botanica began to take shape in 2013, when I launched my initial concept to create food-based events featuring panel-based dialogue surrounding art, storytelling, gentrification, food sovereignty, and justice issues. I was motivated by my own experiences of childhood food insecurity, with deep personal knowledge of how a single unfortunate event can send a working family into the grips of poverty. Over the course of 7 years and twenty-four food-based events, these grassroots efforts to center and support food justice work for the benefit of black communities grew into needing my own space to continue my personal healing as well as a space for these important conversations over good food.

Where do you see Nourish Botanica going in the next 5 years? 10 years?

I see us being able to create this healing space that simply grows and I’m flexible and pliable with how that looks and shape shifts. The original concept has already begun to change shape now that I see what is needed as far as cost and demands around the flowers and event spaces. Ultimately, I would love to have a flower and herb farm, a cafe, plant shop and healing space.

Tell us about your “Nourish Each Other” campaign!

Through “Nourish Each Other”, allies make a donation to our fundraiser of $30 to cover the labor to create a bouquet for black lives. It provides folks the opportunity to both contribute to the fundraiser, show up for your community and contribute to black healing, nourishment, joy.

I was inspired to create this campaign because in black and brown communities, women don’t often take the time to nourish ourselves with self care nor do we buy ourselves flowers as a regular contribution to that care. I wanted to allow our community to experience receiving these flowers from someone just for love. Also, it is quite healing to be a giver and there’s nothing like that sense of self-healing you feel from sharing your generosity with someone else.

 What does community mean to you?

Community for us means a space we can heal and share over food. Nourish In Black builds community, while centering black and brown womxn, by having healing storytelling conversations through food. We aim to build community with everyone, led by elders who can engage and call in ancestral wisdom to heal modern issues.

What does “taking care” look like for you?

For me that has to be extremely intentional because I’ve struggled off and on with sobriety for years so being in nature, separate from large gatherings that are alcohol focused is important for me. I workout, meditate and walk a lot with my pup Ramses. The times when I didn’t take this intentional approach to self-care, it was noticeable, for me, the difference in my mood. Also, I am pretty intentional about honoring my beauty ritual as well and that has given me so much self-love. I sit in the mirror and massage my face and hair with oils, I say affirmations and really just take that time to stare into my own eyes and see myself because the world won’t always give you that. It’s critical to nourish ourselves with beauty as well. Whatever that looks like for each person.

How can people get involved or help out with Nourish Botanica?

Shopping our merch is one of the best ways to support outside of our Atlanta flower popups and that can be found on https://www.nourishbotanica.cafe/. Also they should totally sign up for our amazing newsletter and join the Nourish Community. Folks also can simply make a donation directly at our GoFundMe! No amount is too small because literally every dollar counts! We also ask that people amplify and please share us across social media!

For the month of July, we’re partnering with Quianah Upton & Nourish Botanica to sponsor Nourish Each Other, a flower give back program for black and brown folks in the ATL area. For those of you based in ATL, on July 31st, 2021, Quianah is also hosting a volunteer day at Alumna Farm, where you can snag a bouquet and enjoy a fun day of weeding, mulching, and conversation! Click here to sign up. And if you’re not based in ATL, and still want to get involved, follow @nourishinblack to learn more, or donate directly to her fundraising campaign.