Biophilic Solutions: Nature Has the Answers

How Dr. Sheri Parks is Reviving Indigo Dye and Cultivating Community in Maryland and Beyond

August 15, 2023 Season 3 Episode 59
How Dr. Sheri Parks is Reviving Indigo Dye and Cultivating Community in Maryland and Beyond
Biophilic Solutions: Nature Has the Answers
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Biophilic Solutions: Nature Has the Answers
How Dr. Sheri Parks is Reviving Indigo Dye and Cultivating Community in Maryland and Beyond
Aug 15, 2023 Season 3 Episode 59

This week, we’re exploring the intersection of agriculture, artistry, and history through the lens of indigo, a significant cash crop in the colonial period with inextricable ties to the slave trade. So inextricable, in fact, that slavery wasn’t even legal in Georgia until 1751, when British governors recognized the economic potential of the plant and its distinctive blue dye. Our guest today is Sheri Parks, Ph.D is a renowned community strategist, scholar, and writer who currently serves as the Program Director of the Natural Dye Initiative, a multi-part project whose aim is to explore the cultural and economic impact of indigo in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions by reintroducing it to Black farmers and artists. In this episode, we discuss the transformative impact of reclaiming indigo production in the southern United States, how the Natural Dye Initiative makes it economically viable for a new generation of farmers, and touch on the global significance of this remarkable plant. 

Dr. Parks formerly served as the VP of Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and as Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities and Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. Her scholarly work focuses on how art and aesthetics affect our day to day lives and how aesthetics can be used as a tool for social justice.

Show Notes


Key Words: Indigo, Indigo Dye, Colonial, Colonialism, Nature Dye, Maryland, Baltimore, Biophilia, Biophilic Design, Agriculture, Farming, Organic Farming, Art, Aesthetics, Southern United States, US history 

Well Beyond Medicine: The Nemours Children's Health Podcast

Exploring people, programs and bold ideas changing children's health for good.


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Show Notes Chapter Markers

This week, we’re exploring the intersection of agriculture, artistry, and history through the lens of indigo, a significant cash crop in the colonial period with inextricable ties to the slave trade. So inextricable, in fact, that slavery wasn’t even legal in Georgia until 1751, when British governors recognized the economic potential of the plant and its distinctive blue dye. Our guest today is Sheri Parks, Ph.D is a renowned community strategist, scholar, and writer who currently serves as the Program Director of the Natural Dye Initiative, a multi-part project whose aim is to explore the cultural and economic impact of indigo in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions by reintroducing it to Black farmers and artists. In this episode, we discuss the transformative impact of reclaiming indigo production in the southern United States, how the Natural Dye Initiative makes it economically viable for a new generation of farmers, and touch on the global significance of this remarkable plant. 

Dr. Parks formerly served as the VP of Strategic Initiatives at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and as Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities and Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. Her scholarly work focuses on how art and aesthetics affect our day to day lives and how aesthetics can be used as a tool for social justice.

Show Notes


Key Words: Indigo, Indigo Dye, Colonial, Colonialism, Nature Dye, Maryland, Baltimore, Biophilia, Biophilic Design, Agriculture, Farming, Organic Farming, Art, Aesthetics, Southern United States, US history 

Well Beyond Medicine: The Nemours Children's Health Podcast

Exploring people, programs and bold ideas changing children's health for good.


Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

(Cont.) How Dr. Sheri Parks is Reviving Indigo Dye and Cultivating Community in Maryland and Beyond