Newfields Speaker Series: Blooming Our Way: A Conversation with Teri Speight and John Caleb Pendleton

Newfields Speaker Series: Blooming our Way — A Conversation with Teri Speight and John Caleb Pendleton
6:30 PM

Author Teri Speight and floral designer John Caleb Pendleton from Planks & Pistils in Chicago, IL take the stage for a conversation about Teri’s book, Black Flora: Profiles of Inspiring Black Flower Farmers + Florists.   

The world of floriculture is exciting. When we think of this industry, florists of color are usually not seen or even mentioned. Over the years, many minority florists have been overlooked. Black Flora introduces twenty-five portraits of African Americans in the industry. From flower farmers, floral artisans, to everyday florists, Black Flora shares their inspirational stories. The hope and healing power of flowers shines through their voices.  

The Newfields Speaker Series will feature on going conversations with experts who will share their experiences as they have sought to achieve a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in their own organizations and beyond.  

Doors open at 6 PM and Speaker Series will begin at 6:30 PM. 

March 23, 2023
The Tobias Theater at Newfields
Free / Registration is recommended but not required


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Teri Speight 

Author, podcaster, and garden writer Teresa J. Speight is a proud native of Washington, DC, as well as a mother, grandmother, garden writer, and history lover. With ancestral sharecropping roots originating in North and South Carolina, she feels deeply connected with the earth. She’s honored those roots through her work as head gardener for the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia; as a founding farmer of an organic CSA farm; as founder and president of Jabali Amani Garden Collective, an online African American garden club focusing on beautifying urban areas in our communities; and as an estate gardener. Teresa also works to reconnect people with the soil through one-on-one garden coaching and by offering curated “garden experiences” for small groups.

Teresa is the author of Black Flora: Profiles of Inspiring Black Flower Farmers + Florists and co-author of The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to Grow Food and Beauty in the City. On her podcast Cottage in the Court (available on Anchor or Apple Podcasts), Teresa introduces interesting people, discovers unique places, and adds a little poetry to remind everyone to embrace the garden, as it is here for us.

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John Caleb Pendleton

Originally from Grove Hill, Alabama, John Caleb Pendleton’s love for woodworking and flowers began with his parents. “Planks” honoring his woodworker father and “Pistils” honoring his mother. He realized art was a vital part of his life when he began arranging flowers for his wife. It has become a honed skill which led him to be the the founder and creative director of Planks & Pistils design studio, which exists to design high quality floral art that evokes a social and emotional connection to Black freedom, creativity, self-care and growth. (seen in: Munaluchi Bridal, Florists’ Review Magazine, Nike)