Tis the season to garden! How wonderful! Gardening is a simple act to reconnect with mother nature (see my previous post on the benefits of that!). It can make for a great hobby, a way to add movement to your day, and is an easy way to add affordable nutrition to your dinner table. Research has demonstrated that gardening has vast public health and individual health benefits. Those can include a decrease in depression and anxiety, as well as increases in quality of life and life satisfaction.
But have you ever reflected on the importance of gardening to relationship building? When my tomatoes are overwhelming me in August, I walk down my street, offer what I can't eat to my neighbors and have a lovely conversation with them at the same time. Those that decide to rent a plot in a community garden get the opportunity to chat and learn from others working that land all while beautifying their community and meeting new people. And when our littles are included in the process, we build safe spaces to explore and teach them about mother nature's beauty and significance (all while tasting those juicy strawberries). When we plant and grow it is not just the produce that is harvested, but a strengthened relationship with ourselves, our family, our neighbors, our community and mother nature herself.
I came to gardening late in life, but since have been in wonderment of the pleasures it brings. The simple act of having dirt under my fingernails without it being socially inappropriate is a beautiful thing. Squishing my toes through the dirt takes me back to the days of my youth when it didn't really matter if I had a pedicure or not. Watching something I planted in the earth turn first to blossoms and then to something I can prepare for my evening dinner never ceases to amaze me. The opportunity to walk out to my garden for fresh springs of herbs to season my meals with is priceless. This stokes an inner sense of calm and joy simultaneously. In the end it doesn't really matter if you are planting a few favorite herbs in containers, or have a half acre plot with all the veggies you can think of. What matters is sitting with the awe and wonderment of cultivating good food and good relationships to sustain a healthy life.