D'Real is an afroecologist, placemaker and youth worker. He has participated in numerous community-focused collaborative projects. From co-facilitating the Ypsilanti Public School/Willow Community School District merger after the 2012 General Election, to executing an award-winning master plan update in one of Washtenaw County's most economically segregated municipalities, his work has focused on exploring and understanding teamwork through placemaking methods. With a passion for third-space and equity theory, naps, friendship, in addition to life-long learning, D'Real continues to explore the intersection between dominant worldview and traditional knowledge in his daily walk.
What's your current theme song? If you have a reason, please share.
Eat or Starve by Damedot.
What is Black with Plants?
Black w/ Plants is an interactive multi-year, multi-media project co-founded by D'Real (Farmer at Three Part Harmony Farm, Co-founder of Ypsi Local). Said project will surface content to encourage black plant care-takers to decolonize their practice + center psychological wellness.
Tell me about your journey to now. What impactful moments led you to your work?
I'd like to turn a residential unit into an urban homestead, ultimately to center afroecology, ethnobotany, herbalism, and traditional African agrarian techniques.
Said urban locale will service as a center for gardening, healing, and ongoing decolonizing. Ideally, the brick and mortar will comprise of 1800 square feet surrounded by 1/8th of an acre (minimal) to 2 acres (maximal) of arable + undisturbed landscape.
Inside the homestead, an apothecary, library, and shared spaces all available for public / private gatherings, focused on attuning individuals to their personal (bodily) constitution, circadian rhythm, and indigenous ways of being/knowing.
The land and infrastructure will be managed by a cooperative. I'd be the primary caregiver, in position to collaborate on programs that promote survival, that advocate for a return to homeostasis, that engender optimal cellular health, that weave together entheogenic plants with pharmacognosy with herbalism with small acreage farming with single origin crop trade/harvesting with public health.
Tapping into Black Imagination to actualize Liberation, that leads toward Sovereignty, that encourages the institution of affirming decentralized, autonomous spaces Black Imaginations to percolate within individuals and collectives. Witnessing is a sacred work, too. Seeing ourselves as whole and healthy is an act of pure rebellion in a world so titillated by our constant subjugation, reflects viral curator Natasha Marin, on Black Imagination. This dynamic collection of Black voices works like an incantation of origin, healing, and imagination. Born of a series of conceptual art exhibitions, the perspectives gathered here and nowhere near monochromatic. Each insists on their own variance and challenges every reader to witness themselves that Black Lives (and Imaginations) Matter.
I want to secure space offline for strategic gains towards organizing community against the structural violence that heavily affects health risks and life determinants in Black America and BIPOC America.
What can we do to tap into the collective Black Imagination? especially during this pandemic?
Who and/or what motivates your passion each day?
I am motivated by the plant queendom and its tendency to harmonize despite anthropogenic, sectarian activity.
How do you define Radical Self Care?
Radical self care is the realization of self in the perceived other, witnessing of self in nature, the attempt for Africans scattered across the diaspora to depart from the white imagination and to prepare mind-body-spirit bond to refrain from perpetuating harm in community.
What rituals do you have to help maintain homeostasis of mind, body, and spirit?
I have yet to fortify rituals that are rooted in African nomenclature. Right now returning to homeostasis is aided by remembering to move at a pace that feels natural and practical.
How do you incorporate plants into your well being routine? How is the cannabis (THC, CBD, CBN, etc) a part of your plant ritual?
Cannabis is consumed daily in the morning and evening to help manage somatic pain and to help understand psychological dissonance.
Who would you like to experience an altered state (dream elevation + discussion) with and how would you achieve this flow state?
I’d be interested in experiencing an altered state with folx curious about collective healing and mutual aid. Scheduling time to embrace dream elevation and discussion can be achieved by centering self care/awareness prior to aligning. I would encourage folx to consider ways to promote hydration and wellness before sharing this flow state.
Love the phrase "slow down to speed up", what does that mean to you personally and within the present global pause?
Slowing down to listen to nature to speed up the destabilization of the hegemony (white supremacist settler colonialism/imperialism/cisheteronormativity).
What is the gift you bring to community?
What has been the most challenging for you during this time?
Unlearning former useful survival techniques of navigating waking hours.
What made you become an advocate in the space and for the plant?
Watching generations of Black criminalized by the state and law enforcement.