Sustainable Author, Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn  Photo by: Coveteur 

Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn 
Photo by: Coveteur 

1. Name?
My name is Summer Rayne Oakes.

2. Where are you from?
I am from Northeastern Pennsylvania.

3. Where are you based?
I currently live in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn 

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn 

4. Profession?
Author, How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart and host of Plant One On Me on YouTube.

5. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I am ecologist by training and love connecting people back to nature. Perhaps ironically, I’ve lived in the city now for fourteen years, but have crafted an interesting lifestyle that makes me feel as if I’m not living in the city. And now I have a pet chicken and she and I live with a lot of plants that I love to care for and she loves to eat!

Summer Rayne and Kipppee  Photo by Lou & Grey

Summer Rayne and Kipppee
Photo by Lou & Grey

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

6. I imagine that walking around NYC can be alarming in terms of subway litter or NYC taxis. How do you play your part around the city?
Well, you never feel as if your part is enough, but I volunteer every day, seven days a week, at the senior citizen service center in my neighborhood as well as in my community garden. It really keeps me rooted to the community. On top of that, I try to be as involved as I can in other activities, like the Plant Swaps I host, and in more international projects. Most recently, our sustainable development facility in Mozambique got really hit hard by Hurricane Idai, so I started a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild that area.

7. What changes have you seen or heard of from your subscribers since starting your blog and YouTube channel?
So many people have written me beautiful letters and missives about how my love for plants got them started on their journey loving plants, and that means so much to me. I think a number of folks felt “weird” (for lack of a better word) that they had plants, and when my article and video came out years back with all my plants, plenty of folks wrote in (or have told me in person) that it really gave them “permission” to fully express their love for plants. I didn’t expect that, but I love that sentiment. People can somehow be more themselves through the way I live.

Photo by Barcroft Media

Photo by Barcroft Media

8. What led you to combine sustainability and fashion?
It was sparked by my who mission of bringing more nature and environmental awareness to more people. I figured I could start with an industry that really needed a lot of greening up!

9. You have worked with AirBNB for garden tours, you have a blog, YouTube channel, written a book, etc. Are there more things you would like to do to help the community?
I’ve been really enjoying hosting Plant Swaps, and have now started a Community Page on my blog where people can submit their own swap and find one in their neighborhood here: http://homesteadbrooklyn.com/plantswap

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

10. What are some of your favorite elements of your home?
The hammock, my kitchen space, my green wall. I love it all. It’s my home.

11. You’ve been featured on numerous TV networks. What do you think your biggest accomplishment is?
Helping people find or stimulating their love of plants

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

Photo by Summer Rayne Oakes, Homestead Brooklyn

12. What is something you want your followers to take away from just a first glance at your page?
I try to make my content matter since there is just so much stuff out there. On YouTube, I’d like to educate, entertain, and fill the viewer with wonder, delight and intrigue. I also like to be able to tell a human story there. Something the viewers can relate too. Instagram is more a glimpse into my world, partially curated, partially off-the-cuff.

13. What is your motto in life?
The world doesn’t say “No” unless you let it.

Photo by BrakeThrough Media for lululemon 

Photo by BrakeThrough Media for lululemon 

14. Website and Instagram info?

Homesteadbrooklyn.com
Houseplantmasterclass.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/summerrayneoakes/
@homesteadbrooklyn
How to Make a Plant Love You- book

Street Talk, which supports emerging artists that merit being discovered.

Interview by Alison Hernon, Editor-In-Chief, PhotoBook Magazine.