Where will you find your Healing Garden? In your own backyard, at a community garden, at a school/university garden, or maybe a great non-profit that supports organic and sustainable agriculture, or even an apartment balcony or patio.
I have found my healing gardens in all of these settings. When I first started gardening, it was a few potted plants on my apartment patio. Then, in a slightly bigger place, I was able to try my hand at in-ground planting while retaining my container garden roots. As the years progressed I dove into different growing methods from hugelkultur to aquaponics. I took my passion out into the community and set up gardens for family, friends, community gardens, a local business, an experimental farm, and a non-profit animal sanctuary (most of the produce grown feeding my furred and feathered friends).
Each place brought me, in the very least, time to be in active meditation, as I feel much gardening/farming is: the methodical dropping of seeds in starter trays in late Winter and early Spring and again in late Summer, the planning and re-planning of your space that very rarely ends up looking like you planned, the long process of flowering and forming fruit and ripening and harvest that slows down the mind to this natural rhythmic pace of the garden, and even fighting off pests and disease...caring for something that gives back in nutrition to both body and soul. The benefit of this active meditation in all its forms is a special and grounded type of mindfulness. I have had horrible PTSD nightmares that upon waking put me in a panicked and confused state of mind. On more than one occasion, I have retreated from the nightmares into my garden to lay down among the growth until I felt relief and returned to bed. When I would experience panic attacks during the day, you could 9 times out of 10 find me in the garden doing something to reset my mind and stop my heart and mind racing. When I served others by volunteering to set up garden space and do labor for small farms, it rewarded me with a feeling of connection and wellbeing...to counter the depression and anxiety I suffered because of my Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Recently, I stopped by a place that I can see bringing not only great healing for myself but for the whole of my local community: Reed's Organic Farm! I love their mission and their passion for building community and growing great food. I especially like their non-profit mission, Meaningful Purpose, "that was set up with the clear intent of helping out the local community. We aim to help the local community by creating a hub on a local farm that serves as an animal rescue, a platform for sustainable, organic farming and an employer for individuals with special needs. Our board members take no salary and all donation and proceeds are used to in our efforts to rescue animals, farm organically, and helping those with special needs by giving them a meaning and a purpose. A Meaningful Purpose Inc is currently operating at Reed’s Farm." A mission GOTG can get behind!
I am happy to be volunteering my gardening experience and am thrilled to be learning something new from the farm manager every time I go in to lend a hand. I have found a Healing Garden in this place for sure! Where will you find your Healing Garden? No matter where you find it, register your garden with GOTG on the Healing Garden Initiative page.