Ayanna Diarra pops on her designer sunshine yellow thrift-store rain boots and fetches her favorite second-hand rusty shovel to give a tour of the latest additions in her garden.
As she walks through well-parted veggies, she smells sprigs of lemongrass, rosemary and Thai basil, taking extra care of her urban garden.
She stops at each bushel to pay reverence as she describes different plants and their development with such detail that it is as if each seed in the ground is her child.
In truth, Diarra’s small urban farm that she built with her partner, Scotty Bryant, is a sacred space.
Dirt between her fingers is a daily ritual on warm days. Her garden is where she learns to co-exist with spiders, garden snakes, groundhogs, boll weevils and worm poop.
“After work, I get into this garden and pull weeds or patch a fence until it gets dark. I am sweaty and funky. My body aches, but I feel light. I love the feeling of being covered in mud or dirt. The soil takes away my stress.”