For me, it all started with the bees. In the first few months of moving to Brooklyn from Portland, Oregon, I bought a pair of vintage Gucci flats with botanical prints: bees, beetles, flowers. After reading as many beekeeping books as I could, I decided to purchase a hive of my own. It consists of , bees and a queen bee. Found outside Liont Park. Midtown Manhattan, and bringing it to my Brooklyn backyard. My morning ritual, before the bees all fly away (beekeeping lingo is they abscond), is to drink a cup of tea in my bee-adorned shoes, and then watch and listen to my bees flying in and out of the hive, juggling what I see in old files Flowers planted in cabinet drawer before.
If you’re wearing a cotton t-shirt, eating a slice of bread, or enjoying a glass of wine, somewhere on earth a farmer grows fiber, grain, or fruit. In New York, a city that often seems centered around fashion, culture and restaurants, it’s easy to feel distanced from the source. Watching bees pollinate flowers in a city park, hearing the excitement of neighbors who will be planting corn in a community garden this year, and eating a locally sourced dinner are small ways we reconnect with nature in our big cities.
With that in mind, this spring I followed Aerthship, a creative collective working to bridge the gap between culture and ecology. Their work ranges from creating immersive evenings for Air Company’s new carbon-neutral fragrance to working with Aboriginal fisherman Stevie Dennis on Gucci’s Off the Grid capsule collection. For Pierce’s spring tour, they hosted a series of dinners in New York overseen by model and chef Pierce Abernathy, all aimed at showcasing the work of the city’s many urban farms.
Aerthship was founded by Tin Mai, who previously worked on Rihanna’s 2015Anti campaign album and with record label rising, with his group of college friends who moved to New York from the University of Oregon 2015. Aerthship’s charm lies in the deep friendships that forge it. In addition to Mai and Abernathy, the core team includes Mimi Zhu, author of Don’t Be Afraid of Love; 2015 producer Alex Lianopoulos, whose credits include: Work ranging from HBO to Nike; Rex Nwerem, a senior strategist at Weiden + Kennedy who has worked on projects for the NFL and NBA; and Benson Wink, a creative strategist who also builds and designs furniture for teams. (I saw a particularly striking photo of an outdoor table with a hole in the middle to accommodate a tree.)
I started my journey at Smallhold Mushrooms Farm in Brooklyn. Co-founder Adam DeMartino shows me around, pointing me to separate rooms for oyster mushrooms, lion’s mane mushrooms (a variety that’s been going viral on TikTok lately), and blue oysters. As we chatted, someone came by to pick up an order of six pounds of mushrooms for a dinner at the tahini brand Seed and Mill; when DeMartino was about to hand it over, he handwritten a note to the host. Then, a farmer in an Online Ceramics Eat Mushrooms shirt blasts out loud club music (indecipherable EDM, for me). “Is this Skrillex?” DeMartino asked. The day’s work is over. “This is our closing music,” he replied.
my sister Soon realized she had stopped at the Rhodora, a low-key bar in Clinton Hill, on her spring tour. Abernathy described Rodora as his favorite stop on the series: “The whole experience was casual and kind of chaotic,” he said. The tour stops seem to take the spirit of their locations—whether it’s the dance culture Bushwick is known for or the quiet sophistication of Clinton Hill—and expand upon it.