Meet Patty: Adventurer, Event Curator, Swapmeet Stylist and VegXicana born in Los Angeles, CA, but raised in the San Gabriel Valley. Patty and I were both part of Nature for All’s Leadership Academy. This Academy is a six-month program that educates and develops environmental stewards to care for our public lands and to advocate for the protection and enhancement of our mountains, forests, rivers, parks, and urban open spaces.
Recently Patty and I had a heart to heart on why we decided to apply to Nature for All’s Leadership Academy. During this conversation, Patty shared with me her love for community, but more specifically her love for community gardening
Patty, I look forward to seeing where this passion of yours takes you. I’m so happy that we get to experience this academy together.
Pronouns: She/ Her/ Hers
Favorite quote: “Your Healing doesn’t have to be loud, apparent and beautiful. It’s not a magic show the world needs to see- it’s a magic that happens within” - unknown
How did you get the nickname Hija de las Plantas? The name means Child of the Plants. My cousins whom I share a special bond with gave me that name since I live a plant-based lifestyle.
When did you first start gardening and what was it like planting your first vegetable garden? I first started gardening by accident.I threw seeds out in the garden and boom all these veggies started to pop up shortly after. Growing up, I had always been around plants and had this respect for them, but after the unplanned gardening happened, I was drawn to know more about them. I currently live in an apartment so I don’t have a vegetable garden of my own, but I begun reading, volunteering and attending workshops at local community gardens taking in knowledge for when I do have enough room to start a full garden.
What about gardening brings you joy? I really enjoy getting my hands in the dirt. Partially because I don’t have a choice since I don’t have gloves haha, but also because its nostalgic. As a kid, I had so many adventures touching dirt and leaves without worries.
Why do you think community gardening is important and in what ways can it help communities? I think it comes down to rebelling against the system in a way. When you grow your own food, you are more independent of regulations and corporations that benefit from our lack of awareness.
When you first told me about your love for community gardening, you mentioned that I had to listen to Ron Finley’s (the “Gangsta Gardener’) Ted talk. What about Finely’s story resonates with you? I think it was revolutionary in a way. He fought for something so accessible and by doing so made excellent use of green spaces. After being inspired by Finley’s story, I started volunteering and attending workshops at gardens and met other inspiring leaders such as Julieta of Growing Roots and Sandra of My Vida Verde.
When did you first start studying herbalism? I first started taking classes in Winter 2018 with Hood Herbalism and from there started to read more and more about herbs. I have so many projects I want to work on that honor the plants, but right now as part of my self-discovery, I’m working on my own relationship with the plants.
What has this journey taught you about yourself? This journey has brought me closer to my mother and grandmother as well as other members of my family. I feel like we share recipes, remedies and with that we share stories. I started to realize that our time here is temporary, especially with my elders, so more than ever I want to learn from my family and I want to connect with my ancestral roots.
In what ways would you say you show up for yourself and what would you say to someone, who is just getting started on their self-care journey? I think I show up for myself by getting involved in workshops, volunteer opportunities and building connections from there. Being an introvert, I struggle to get out of my comfort zone.
In order to get out of a rut or stagnant place, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
For anyone getting started on their journey, I would say to regularly revisit your intentions and make them clear. At first, I struggled so much with this because I was resisting change. In order to get out of a rut or stagnant place, we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I probably sound like a jacked up Pinterest board of quotes, but its true. It takes a lot of self-reflecting and self-awareness to make shit happen. Getting rid of toxic people isn’t enough. When you start to do things from a good place, the rest really does start to align.
What are some outdoor issues that are important to you? The diversification of the outdoors and the honoring of Native spaces is very important to me. I strongly believe we should have recreation spaces named after the first peoples of the area in their language. We have to remember who was here before us. I have a deeper appreciation of natural lands knowing the history and truth behind them and thus I want to protect them further.