The Blushprint is a Black woman owned business that delivers “high levels of well- being in lovely little bundles.” Its owner, Onnie Ponder, is a former member of the R&B girl group “Nuttyn Nice” who had a few singles on the Hot 100 chart back in the early 90’s. Since her days in the hustle and bustle of show business, Onnie has settled into a quiet life in Atlanta where she is literally planting seeds for healthy living.
The name of her company “The Blushprint” is a play on the word “blueprint”. With her homemade organic personal care products including teas, body oils, and soaps as well as her fruit and veggie co-op, she’s now charting a colorful blueprint for our community’s health and wellness.
I Get It from My Momma Onnie began learning about the healing properties of herbs, roots, and spices from her mother as a child. Whenever she or her sisters came down with a cold or a headache, when most mothers would reach for Tylenol or Aspirin, her mom always had an herb or a root. She vividly remembers once having an anxiety attack that was calmed when her mother gave her something called valerian root. She recalled that it “smelled like sweaty gym socks” but it ushered her into the most peaceful sleep that she had ever had. Now listen…I’m a Game of Thrones fan, so I know all there is to know about valerian steel, but this is the first I’m hearing about valerian root. I’mma have to put that on my list of things to pick up from the health store along with ginger, cayenne pepper, and chamomile.
As she got older, Onnie began to do her own research investigating what herbs and plants work best to remedy different conditions. She believes that nature was designed to provide what we need, and that natural products work best with our bodies. She cautions her clients about all sorts of items that we ingest or put on our bodies every day. For instance, she reminds her customers that our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs into our bloodstream 90% of what we put on it. Since many products on our shelves contain carcinogenic ingredients, we have to start being more careful about the lotions, soaps, and deodorants that we use, and where possible use natural products.
Farming, Food, and Freedom
It would make no sense for us to monitor what we put on our bodies and not give the same care and concern to what we put in our bodies. So in addition to her boutique of homemade 100% natural products, The Blushprint recently ventured into the realm of urban farming. Onnie has leased a plot of land at the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm where she’s planted and grown an assortment of fruits, herbs and vegetables, including Collards greens, squash, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, sage, and basil. The farm also has peaches, pears, apples, and bananas. Residents of the Atlanta area who are interested in eating clean are encouraged to sign up with the Blushprint Fruit and Veggie Co-Op. For a bi-weekly fee of $35.00, participants receive a basket containing 2 weeks’ worth of locally grown fruits and vegetables (No GMO’s, No pesticides).
On her health and wellness journey, Onnie has come to realize just how revolutionary the act of growing one’s own food actually is. She passionately stated that, “Food is revolutionary. You can rebel against the whole system merely by what you eat.” On a practical level, how we ever gone be free if we ain’t even got our own food? If we claim to be about black power, we also need to be about a green thumb. Maybe we all can’t get out in the streets and protest, maybe we’re not in a position to open a black business right now or home school our children, but what’s stopping us from planting seeds in our back yards?
Onnie views farming and creating top quality organic products as her calling. In her own words, “The ultimate goal is to teach communities how to farm and build their own co-ops. We have to fight for our health. No one is going to do it for us. The doctor is going to give you a pill, which cures one problem, but causes another. God gave us the sun, plants, and seeds that complement our chemical makeup. He told us what to eat and not to eat.” She ain’t never lied! I guess I need to put these kettle cooked jalapeno chips, soft baked chocolate chip cookies and candy bars down…for the revolution…and my waistline…cuz bruh!
Get It Together
As a community, we come from a culture that knew how to live off the land, but in the past two generations or so, we’ve started losing that knowledge and experience. Most of us can remember our grandmothers and our aunties having a special home remedy for almost any issue that arose. We need to get it together. Start writing down our recipes, documenting our grandmother’s knowledge of herbs and roots and our uncles’ gardening tips. If we have family land, we must begin cultivating it. Start small if need be, but by all means start. Our future may very well depend on it.
For more information about the Blushprint and the Fruit and Vegetable Coop head over to www.theblushprint.bigcartel.com and follow them on Instagram @theblushprint.
By Nicci Page