Gardener, plant trainer and plantrepreneur Nick Cutsumpas, aka Farmer Nick (@farmernick), is on a mission to get people to see houseplants as a gateway to changing the world. What started as a part-time passion has turned into a full-fledged sustainability-focused lifestyle.
Nick believes the best way to minimize your environmental footprint is to do it in small steps. “Plants are stepping stones to sustainability,” Nick told In The Know. “If I can convince you to put a houseplant on your desk, I’m sure I can get you to care about the great plant we all live on, and that just starts with creating empathy and a connection.”
Once people have a connection with their plants at home, Nick thinks it will be much easier to connect with the world at large and inspire sustainable actions that help the environment. “If you have a plant that you can empathize with, that you can care for, and that you learn to nurture, you’re going to see your connection to the outside world in a whole different way, and that leads to more behavioral change, whether it’s shopping at the farmer’s market, or reducing single-use plastics, or even going vegan,” says Nick.
Beyond houseplants, Nick is a big proponent of urban agriculture, which involves growing, harvesting, and distributing food in or around a metropolitan area. One city farm he is involved with is ALMA Backyard Farms, which is a California city farm suite rooted in restorative justice.
“The fact that they can grow healthy, delicious food at a price the community can afford in an area where they may not have access to the same quality of produce that you might get at a conventional grocery store is a game-changer. “, says Nick from ALMA.
Beyond harvesting and distributing high-quality food, ALMA is a safe green space where families can come and visit with their children, and is heavily involved in social activism by hiring formerly incarcerated people for a professional training and working on the farm in order to give them solid experience during professional reintegration.
Ultimately, Nick is happiest when he has a positive impact on plants. “The culture of having a positive impact and doing something good for the environment and the people in that environment, there’s really nothing better,” he says.
“Motivate yourself, inspire others,” Nick says of his motto. “Because in truth, I’m in a privileged position and if I don’t use the perks that come with my privilege to do something positive, then I feel like I’ve wasted my time.”
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