Quianah Upton, the founder of Nourish in Black — an Atlanta-based sustainable events and food storytelling company dedicated to raising social consciousness — is opening a greenhouse and cafe called Nourish Botanica. Once open, Nourish Botanica plans to operate as an events space and restaurant serving mostly vegan Caribbean and Southern dishes and herbal remedies, with the greenhouse growing and selling plants, flowers, and herbs from local farmers.
Upton is partnering with chef Jerome Kendrick, the founder of southern Appalachian foodways pop-up dinner series ThinkTable. Atlanta-based farmer and farm consultant Maurice Small will assist in growing plants and flowers for the greenhouse, and dyes and herbs will likely be sourced from Stephanie Jansen of Farm Awry.
“Food waste rescue by diverting produce from landfills and foraging for local plants and herbs is going to be central to our business model as well,” Upton tells Eater Atlanta. “Our hope is to find an affordable piece of land in South Atlanta near the old prison since it’s very lush there and a lot of that side of town is food insecure. However, we are open to land reparations in any part of Atlanta.”
A GoFundMe campaign kicks off in earnest on Friday, July 17, with the proposed $60,000 going toward building the Black-owned cafe and greenhouse. For Upton, Nourish Botanica is a continuation of the sustainable events and social justice work of Nourish in Black. She plans to donate space at Nourish Botanica to members of the community on a monthly basis for events and other gatherings.
Upton and Kendrick want to involve as many local farmers, artists, community organizers, and policy makers as possible in Nourish Botanica in order to create an “incubator” for growers, food justice organizations, artists, and culinary and creative entrepreneurs.
“We have a passion for honoring and protecting culture through creating spaces to celebrate it,” says Upton. “With our own space, we would finally be the owners of our narrative. Artful healing through nourishment is central to every event we’ve ever created.”
Upton, who grew up in a food insecure area of southern Florida, says she found her voice through art and now uses it to spark conversations and highlight food injustice within the Atlanta community through her dinners and events.
Most recently, Upton and Nourish in Black partnered with Alexandra Mackey’s vegan popup and catering company FreeFoodATL to help feed protesters and organizers at marches against police brutality and those attending social justice rallies. The initiative, dubbed Nourish the People, purchased meals and snacks from Black-owned restaurants and food producers for distribution at protests and events around Atlanta. The effort raised $2,500.