Amber Tamm: Plant-Based Business Polymath
Amber Tamm is a plant-based business enthusiast--horticulturalist, floral designer, mild landscaper, and urban farmer/gardener--basically an all around plant polymath! She spends her days steeped in nature where she has gleaned the healing powers of mother earth and is passionate about guiding low income communities of color on how to connect with the earth and build a career out of working with plants.
Born and bred in Brooklyn, she now calls Virginia home where she is currently hard at work on building her own equity + community focused farm. When she’s not farming you can catch her in the kitchen with her partner Community Chef Anochi Odinga II.
PP: How did you first discover plant-based medicine?
I discovered plant medicine from momma earth herself. As soon as I embarked on my farm journey, I would find myself in places all over the U.S., getting plant-based healing in its most original form-- just laying on the earth, observing the earth, watching it change, heal, transform.
After running an herbal greenhouse, farming all sorts of veggies, and working at a farmer's market, I found myself super knowledgeable about herbs and the power of veggies. I never called it “plant-based medicine” or “plant-based healing” or any other trending term, I called it working with momma earth and knowing her on a personal level. Eventually knowledge of momma earth comes naturally once you’re working with her on the daily.
PP: What is one of your key plant-based medicine rituals?
I love to indulge in cacao ceremonies. I find drinking cacao to be such a heart opening event and I do it on new/full moons that feel very significant to me and my partner. I shall be enjoying one real soon as my partner and I are moving into a huge new chapter into our lives.
PP: Do you have a cultural or ancestral connection to any plants?
As a Black Woman I feel both culturally and ancestrally connected to food -- period. Most of the foods we eat are originally from Africa but have been transported somewhere else, just like myself.
In particular tho, I’ve always felt really connected to collards. It's the one green that black people from Ethiopia all the way to Brooklyn, NY, know about and avidly eat. To me, collards represent the black voice, black resilience, black history. The way black people are able to finesse simple greens into a delicious part of a dish. I’ve also used collards in my floral arrangements for the simple fact that collards are such beautiful plants, it's important for us to look to our food for nourishment - yes! - but beauty too!
PP: What is the one plant/herb you can’t live without and why?
GANJA! Ganja is a plant that I truly enjoy in every format it comes in from CBD edibles, to spliffs, to hemp clothing - They all bring me so much joy & comfort especially during these harsh times.
PP: Can you share your favorite self-care practice?
I am going to be 100% honest and say self care is something I've always struggled with. It's a concept that is still hard for me to understand and implement into my life. My work life balance is very rarely balanced and it feels nourishing to admit that. Therefore I keep my self-care real simple to avoid over thinking what it should be.
I set good boundaries with my digital work life. I make sure that I put my phone on airplane mode as soon as I am done with work for the day. I try to make sure it's the same time everyday too. I sometimes have my partner hide my phone from me and make sure I sleep with my electronics in a different room. This truly prevents me from over working and burning out.
I do daily check-in's via free writing. I wake up and one of the first things I do, even before brushing my teeth, is sit down with a glass of water and just free write my early morning away. It helps me address the large amount of thoughts pouring into my head first thing in the morning.
Lastly, AFFIRMATIONS! Lawd, affirmations have helped me so much since February has started. Just making sure I am reminding myself that I am beautiful, that I am getting closer to my dreams, that I am helping others, that I am on the right path - these are all thoughts that I NEED to be reminded of or else imposter syndrome will drown me into depression.
PP: How do you use PP in your daily routine?
I use PP on the daily for moments where anxiety feels like it's creeping up on me. It helps to have this lil ritual. It gives me a chance to breathe, to mediate, honor my body and mind at the same time. PP works as a quick check in ritual in my life.
PP: What is one organization or plant-based business you think people should know about and support?
A Growing Culture.
A Growing Culture’s work has helped me truly understand the world through a global agriculture perspective, helping me understand we actually are all connected through food. They have also helped me understand some of the privileges I have as a Black American farmer by always making sure that farmers from the global south have a chance to share their lives, lived experiences, projects, visions, etc with us.