Lately it can feel like the world’s crises are swirling around us in a volume that’s overwhelming. It can even feel crushing. Globally the pandemic and economic uncertainties continue, and numerous regions face warfare, massive accidents as in Lebanon, or oil spills, as in Mauritius. In the U.S., the pandemic and racial injustice continue, along with hurricanes and a violent wildfire season in the west. How do you find your center or your groundedness in this year that continues to present more than the usual amount of tumult on planet Earth?

My guest in this week’s Humans & Earth podcast episode, Dr. Akilah Martin, discusses rooting ourselves in our community and in the Earth. As I observe the upheavals we’re facing, I find her approach valuable. There is much we can offer to ourselves and the world when we connect deeply to our local community and to the stability of Earth that exists as a strong presence underneath the roiling conflicts we humans are experiencing on her surface. (If you haven’t yet tried Rachel Pfotenhauer’s method for connecting to Earth for stability (Episode 1.1), I very much encourage you to do so.)

Dr. Akilah Martin grew up studying science, then transitioned from a focus on plant science to soil science, the field where she earned her Ph.D. at Purdue. After building a successful academic teaching and administrative career and training as a life coach, she now focuses entirely on leadership and research that benefit her community in Chicago. Her urban agriculture advocacy is directed toward urban water access, food access, nutrition, and Chicago Grows Food, which has been offering Grow Kits to residents as part of their Grow Your Groceries Campaign. In our conversation, we discuss how people can break away from food insecurity and into food sovereignty. Akilah notes: “People are getting more interested in that because they see how their food really impacts their health. And honestly it impacts your mental health at the top—what your brain is able to do.” Listen on the podcast, or find the video here.

No stranger to overwhelm, in our interview she addresses the many emotions she experiences as she tries to address suffering in her community, where people’s bodies and minds experience damage from multiple forms of environmental contamination and health disparities are a terrible norm. She voices her realization that we can’t keep waiting for government or other individuals to provide solutions. Instead, solutions need to be created at the community level “so that that system is locally controlled, maintained, sustained, and those decisions are made collectively and not by individuals who do not have your best interests at heart.”

Akilah acknowledges that taking action can feel overwhelming because you have to “use your brain and put active physical energy into it; it’s not just something you can sit back and wait on.” She discusses how she is synergistic in her contributions to avoid feeling pulled in too many directions, and what kind of self-care practices sustain her.

Can you be centered in yourself, your Earth connection, and your community contribution?


Dr. Akilah Martin brings to her work a rich combination of scientific expertise, commitment to her community, and the leadership and self-care strategies of a life coach. I hope you’ll listen to our conversation on the podcast, or find the video here.

If you find yourself feeling unsettled by the ongoing challenges of this time, I encourage you to consider how Akilah’s model of being centered in herself, her Earth connection, and her community. I believe this is a path to finding our way forward.

There is peace to be had in finding your center, your Earth connection, and your community connection and contribution, whether your focus is renewing well-being for people, plants, animals, or ecosystems. If you’d like support from me, learn about my mentoring sessions here.

Follow Humans & Earth on social media via the links below to receive all our updates. And watch for upcoming podcast interviews with Jeilene Tracey, expert in the human microbiome, energy field, and Earth connection; Bayo Akomolafe, philosopher and explorer of new ways of being human; Kevan Ryon, energy healer and mentor for the embodied human experience; and Lana Shlafer, who will speak with me about why cultivating a positive vision of the human presence on Earth can help us heal ourselves and our planet.

For humans and Earth,
Chara Armon


“That relationship you have with the Earth, that’s number one. Because if that isn’t right, sometimes it makes it challenging and difficult to maneuver with your other relationships. Make sure you have that relationship with the Earth [and] you understand its power, its beauty, its connection, its interconnectedness.” Dr. Akilah Martin

“My vision is that our rhythms are so synergistic with the Earth that everything that we do is first and foremost thought of with the Earth in mind, how it would impact the Earth. And at the same time how it impacts us, not just individually but holistically, because we’re all interconnected. And I’d love to see people appreciating one another and our connection to the Earth, and out there growing things and knowing what it takes to grow something.” Dr. Akilah Martin