It’s easy to take for granted the positive effects that plant life can have on us as individuals, but there is very real evidence out there that suggests that simply being around plants can have a tremendous effect on our well-being. According to a study published last year in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, indoor plants provide measurable physiological and cognitive benefits and can even lower diastolic blood pressure and enhance attention span and response time. The study concludes that green spaces are an integral part of the public health of a city both indoors and out. But green spaces are a privilege, and low-income communities can sometimes exist in what Sandra Mejia calls a ‘green desert.’
‘Maybe the people who live in these neighborhoods don’t necessarily have disposable income, and so they aren’t necessarily spending money on things like plants,’ says Mejia in this episode of Show Up on Uproxx, ‘Being around plants, they just make you happy, and they make the place feel alive and not so sterile… it goes beyond us not having greenhouses, there are so many things we don’t have in this neighborhood.’
Mejia is the co-founder of The Plant Chica, a community greenhouse located in South Central Los Angeles that serves as a bridge between the community and plant life, providing free plants through its adopt a plant events, and acting as a hub for the local community to gather.
The Plant Chica, which started as an online side hustle for Mejia but quickly grew into a brick-and-mortar store that filled a vital need in an underserved community, is more than a simple greenhouse. It plays host to many community events, all in the spirit of giving back to and growing the local community.
To learn more about The Plant Chica and how Mejia took her passion for nature and community and turned it into a way to better her neighborhood, check out the latest episode of Show Up in the video above.