Planting Compassion

Fargo Brewing Company (FBC) opened its doors to Plants for Patients on Monday, Nov. 27. FBC typically has non-profit Mondays, and this past Monday Plants for Patients took the spotlight.

Plants for Patients was started by Meg Roberts, a North Dakota State alumna who began the organization while she was still in school. The organization is a non-profit that aims to give support to people who have received an abortion by giving them a potted plant.

Although the organization provides support to people who have undergone an abortion, they do not identify with common terms associated with the abortion debate. Instead, they are branded as “pro-compassion,” a phrase that Roberts came up with when she began this organization.

“Pro-compassion” is meant to bridge the gap between people. Roberts noticed that when the conversation turns to abortion, there are not many points of alignment, but a lot of strong feelings. She sees pro-compassion as a meeting place for all ideologies.

“Pro-compassion builds a framework we can all huddle under,” Roberts said.

Roberts’ passion for compassion began with herself. When she was a student at NDSU she began to struggle with depression and something that helped her was her apartment-sized garden of houseplants.

Her care for her plants and their incorporation into her life by providing balance and space for self-care, along with her degree in ceramics, drove her to give back to the community through potted plants.

Roberts said that it started as an experiment and that she wasn’t sure it would work — that is until she started receiving feedback. People began to write pages of positive feedback, according to Roberts, which motivated her to take it one step further and commit to making the community she lived in “whole and healthy.”

As she looked into broadening the impact she would one day make, she began to research all the benefits of eco-therapy or therapy through nature. The research told her that a connection to nature helped people feel better and heal faster.

Her passion for reproductive and social justice motivated her further to create an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The president of their board of directors, Chris McEwen, said that the mission of the organization is all about being better to one another.

The long road to creating this organization started at NDSU, and Roberts has learned a lot from that community and received plenty of support.

She learned what it’s like to work within a controversial subject area. Roberts received support from the university every step of the way.

The next Plants for Patients event will take place Dec. 14 at their Make a Pot event.

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