Spotify hosted a panel discussion on podcasting and inclusion Thursday evening at Nourish Botanica, a Black woman-owned cafe and plant shop in south Atlanta. Credit: Janelle Ward / The Atlanta Voice

Spotify is partnering with Black woman-owned plant shop Nourish Botanica to bring podcasting opportunities to underrepresented voices in Atlanta.

As the third installment of its Making Space initiative, the company gifted Nourish Botanica free podcasting equipment to create a professional recording space for members of the community who likely wouldn’t have access to the resources otherwise.

Representatives from Spotify joined local podcasters and community members at Nourish Botanica in Joyland Thursday evening to promote the partnership and host a panel discussion featuring the shop’s owner, Quianah Upton, Atlanta-based podcaster Jennifer Lind and recording artist Saucy Santana.

In addition to selling flowers and plants, Nourish Botanica offers plant-based bites and herbal beverages from its cafe and outdoor bar located on Pryor Road. The establishment also acts as a community gathering space capable of hosting public and private events.

“We wanted to be that place — that centering sort of business that was Black-owned in a neighborhood that was being gentrified,” Upton said. “That’s what the mission has always been, and we were just looking for a neighborhood that grounded us.”

Joyland is classified as a food desert, an area with insufficient access to nutritious foods by means of grocery stores and restaurants. First opening the shop in early 2022, Upton said she wanted to base her business within a neighborhood experiencing food insecurity, so she could give back to the community by playing a direct role in resolving the local food crisis. 

“Supporting and amplifying the work that’s already being done in these neighborhoods is what my business is about,” Upton said.

Jennifer Lind hosted the Black history podcast Telling HERstory: The Life and Legacy of Rosa T. Beard, a monthly series that ran throughout 2021, detailing the experiences of Lind’s maternal grandmother. The podcast earned recognition from the Black Podcasting Awards that same year, winning the award for the best Black history podcast.

Lind said that taking up podcasting quenched her love and craving for history, and gave her a platform to share her familial background with an interested audience.

“I really feel that it’s important that we uncover these untold stories, and that we not only tell them, but we document them for future generations,” Lind said. “I think we can learn a lot about who we are and where we’re going by understanding where our ancestors, and those who have come before us, have been.”

Miami-based rapper Saucy Santana joined the panel shortly afterward to discuss GLOW, an equity program created by Spotify earlier this year to spotlight LGBTQ artists. 

Santana said that musicians in the LGBTQ community are rarely seen in hip-hop, and that he appreciates Spotify for prioritizing the uplifting of marginalized voices on their platform.

“This is new for everyone, so I think we need as much support and push as we can,” Santana said. “Me speaking for my community, I think we just appreciate Spotify for even giving us the recognition.”

Spotify also helped prospective podcasters jumpstart their future projects, introducing them to their podcasting program and giving them the chance to network with other creators.

Lind said the added studio will eliminate financial obstacles for interested creators, allowing them to begin podcasting sooner.

“I feel that some people will feel cost is a barrier,” Lind said. “So, to have a free podcasting studio that’s fully equipped in the community that can be accessible by our community, I think is a big deal.”

Upton said she wants the studio space to be a continuation of the work Nourish Botanica already accomplishes within the community, and that she’s excited to open her shop to novice creators and see the work that they produce.

“For me, it’s always about centering myself and what I started with, and what I’m doing it for: being a gathering space, being a conduit, never being in the way, and having the studio space be an extension of what we already do is very much in line with that,” Upton said. “I just want to continue to do that, and stay in my lane.”

Nourish Botanica’s podcasting studio will open to the public on July 6, operating from noon until 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Book a recording slot in advance on Spotify’s Making Space website.