• Ihotu Ali

A recipe: For soil, truth & transformative justice

A slow burn of sweetgrass and cedar

peach leaves and palm oil.


What plants will teach us in silence,

how to snuggle and hug even after a fight

how to remember we are soft beneath our shields

we are tired but we are alive.

Under what tree can we sit and not fear what we feel

Sit beside pain and not lurch in to fix

What clouds will shapeshift into recipes for truth & transformative justice

When my own pain is so much that I run and I freeze,

Who else’s struggle can I even see clearly,

Can I even stand tall in front of bended knees?


Why is it better to strike than to beg?

This divided country is aching

Still we take pride in going alone and getting ahead.

If we were a plant, we must look thirsty.

Yearning, but wired and tired.

Biologically selfish in order to survive.

Nonstop work no play no sun not enough spring rain too little love. What makes the earth juicy and able to bend is not what we plan now, it’s what we choose to end.

How many crimes stem from lives in turmoil? Are we tending sick plants without feeding the soil?

And if politics may not be where new seeds will sprout - what about art?

As sister Junauda has said, maybe we do need the grandmothers, the healers, listeners, forgivers and feelers. Trade soft words for threats. Grow gardens over rubble and gather singers for security. More health care and wealth care and community care. More sweetness in bed - Can you imagine leaders calling for these instead?

From a fertile soil —

We can sit under a mango tree with our enemies, still with space to smirk at a joke. From a juicy spirit, we pour from fullness rather than fear. We might even forgive them, if there was first friendship there.

From a fertile soil —

What if the gardens replaced all our courtrooms, Neighborhood Councils for judges, plants for the witnesses. Can disagreements be taken “outside - to the garden” and circles allowed space to be real and outspoken?

Don’t over complicate this crisis. We are resilient plants, just right now in strife. We don’t need fancy policies, just those to support our basics of LIFE.

food. water. care.

For once, let justice start there.


sage, chamomile, ginger.

rum & mezcal

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