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Loam Founder Kate Weiner on a Sustainable Life with Plants

Words by
January 31, 2017
When I first dreamed up Loam, I was searching for a way to connect with creative folks and inspire environmental action. I grew up deeply in love with and concerned for our earth, but it was hard for me to conceptualize change in the context of math and sciences. Dancing, writing, and drawing were my channels for not only understanding climate change, but also figuring out meaningful ways to heal our home. I saw Loam as an opportunity for artists and activists alike to share their strategies for sustainability in a way that was unapologetically luscious and messy and poetic. Our patchwork magazines, rich in color, imagery, and poetry, were both a beautiful celebration and a thoughtful exploration of sustainability.
Loam Life with Plants
photo © Kate Weiner
The environmental movement isn’t homogenous. We really endeavor to embody that diversity of thought through the stories we tell and our sensuous environmentalism. We celebrate the beauty of a thriving green wall, the taste of ripe figs, the feel of a walk in the blue winter air.
Since then, Loam has grown into an artistic collective. We publish a carbon-neutral print magazine, serve as creative consultants for environmental non-profits, and host farm-to-table supper clubs. I think that Loam’s growth, especially in the past year, is a testament to our emphasis on creativity, compassion, and concrete change. The environmental movement isn’t homogenous. We really endeavor to embody that diversity of thought through the stories we tell and our sensuous environmentalism. We celebrate the beauty of a thriving green wall, the taste of ripe figs, the feel of a walk in the blue winter air. Through our work, we're asking ourselves and our community to fight for a better world, not from a place of fear or anxiety, but from a place of deep love and radical joy.

Working on Loam enriches my life in many ways. I get to learn from amazing people and create beautiful things. And I am much more vigilant, now more than ever, about embodying hope in my everyday actions. How can I be the change that I want? How can I waste less and do more? How can I cultivate abundance?
Loam Life with Plants
photo © Kate Weiner
My plants teach me how to be a better person! And they remind me that my actions have resonance.
Living with plants truly helps me to answer these questions! Learning how to nourish life—and let yourself be nurtured—is an important part of fostering a strong, secure sustainability practice. I've lived in six different apartments in the last year and every time I build a new nest for myself, I make sure to tuck plants, many of them native to that area, in every corner of the room. When you are new to a region, or unsure where you are going in life, being a plant mama helps refocus your energy on abundance, presence, and peace of mind. My plants teach me how to be a better person! And they remind me that my actions have resonance. Part of the reason I am so passionate about living trash-light is because I can see on a micro level how waste impacts my plants.

My dream is to live in a little Eden. Right now, I sleep with a big snake plant, Bianca, by my bed, and I keep a gorgeous Jade tree on my bookshelf. Because there's not a lot of light in my bedroom, I fill ceramic mugs gifted to me by friends with gorgeous air plants. The plants in my room require minimal water and light but they still need care and it feels good, at the end of a long day, to care for something!
Loam Life with Plants
Jade tree & Bianca the snake plant. Photo © Kate Weiner
In the kitchen, I keep my succulents Sweet Pea, Minerva, and Sassafras (it's very important to name your plants, by the way!) on the table where they can soak up the sun. My friends and I grow herbs on our windowsill and it's so luscious to wake up in the morning and drink my nourishing tonic tea in the midst of sweet sunlight and leafy plant life. I live in an apartment so growing herbs indoors is a lovely little way to bring the wild within. I'm building the frame for a vertical garden as well so that I can grow plants such as lettuce, kale, and arugula indoors. Growing some of my herbs and foods not only saves me money, it also brings me tremendous joy. With the help of my friends, sunlight, and water, I am cultivating a healing pharmacy in my own home.

When you look at mainstream culture, it's clear that we live in a world that doesn't believe we deserve beauty. From soulless strip malls to artificially lit supermarkets, a lot of us reserve a rich reverence for the natural world for vacation days. That's sad, and it's something we can change. Tending to plants, dreaming up new ways to grow green life indoors—these small acts of generosity infuse even the most mundane moments with beauty. I clean the house surrounded by peace lilies. I do my bills and fold my laundry in the shade of a spider plant. Plants bring beauty into our lives and illuminate for us just what that kind of beauty can do to change the texture of our days and reconnect us to the cycles of the moon and stars and sun. If you are searching to live a more sustainable life, search for more beauty. And that begins, as all life does, with plants.
Loam Life with Plants
photo © Kate Weiner
Kate Weiner is the founder and manager of Loam, a collaborative space for cultivating sustainability practices. Both online, in print, and in practice, Loam is creative and inspiring, a call to action for environmental change through personal action. Kate weighs in on what inspired her to create such an outlet and how plants have played a role in maintaining motivation and encouraging sustainable practices.