Meet The Model-Turned-Activist Who Cares For 500 Plants In Her NYC Apartment


Meet Summer Rayne Oakes, a model that turned into food movement activist. She is inspiring the world with her diverse and unique offerings.

Meet The Model-Turned-Activist Who Cares For 500 Plants In Her NYC Apartment (2)

Not only did Oakes model, she received her environmental science degree, recently wrote a book, presently heads up marketing for Foodstand, which aims to “connect a community of good eaters,” and launched a service to connect designers with sustainable fabrics.

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Yes, Oakes is one of the few Renaissance women in this age. But, it’s not her ethical pursuits that have gained her recent attention, it’s the 1,200 square-foot apartment in NYC that she’s lived in for the past eleven years.

Meet The Model-Turned-Activist Who Cares For 500 Plants In Her NYC Apartment (4)

Growing plants in an apartment can be a difficult task, but Oakes makes it look easy.

From an irrigated vertical garden constructed out of mason jars and edible plants to a closet garden and even a living wall, the intriguing activist cares for 500 plants in her abode.

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She told Modern Farmer: 

 Meet The Model-Turned-Activist Who Cares For 500 Plants In Her NYC Apartment (3)

“I think that the only way I’ve really been able to survive in New York is by surrounding myself with plants.”

This is because she grew up on five acres of land in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, alongside chickens, goats, and an orchard. The limitations of living in an urban environment and gardening have been a challenge, but she’s overcome them with ingenuity. She says:

“I’m lucky that I have windows on both sides of my house, one south-facing, which gets a lot of light, and one north-facing. In the windows is where I have more of the light-necessary plants, like ivy, which I can’t eat, and herbs.”

The eco-conscious consumer has done her best to make her apartment as green as possible. A vermiculture kit is situated beneath the sink, a compost bin catches all scraps, and both an LED lighting system and a sub-irrigation system for plants have been installed.

“I think my ultimate goal is to, like, homestead in Brooklyn,” she says. “But I might have to move to a different place because I don’t know if my landlord would take to bees on the roof or chickens.”