- Edible Organic Gardens: Design and Implementation
- Mindfulness Practice
- The Mindful Gardens Project
We are partners with the earth and we are partners with one another. Each of us has the right to enough food and to healthy food. With areas of limited fresh food access on the rise in Chicagoland and beyond, and poverty its close sibling, teaching students and adults to grow their own gardens provides a food source while simultaneously empowering individuals to be more self-reliant as they build community with others. As they engage, students and adults learn valuable skills that enhance relationships, nourish individuals and families, and can serve as a take off point for rewarding career choices.
In addition, gardening has been found to release stress and increase self-esteem1, boost the immune system, provide great exercise, and assist with depression, as evidenced in the growth of horticultural therapy.
The homesite is an illustration of all the above; its organic, edible, permaculture landscape is used to educate, employ the needy, share and celebrate, with 80% of the food harvested donated to the local food pantry and other programs to nourish the hungry.
Mindfulness practice, a compendium of practices that teach us centering, balance and presence, has myriad benefits. Research shows that among them are:
- increased happiness and contentment,
- more fulfilling relationships,
- reduction in stress, decreased anxiety, depression and irritability, and
- Improved memory and reaction times.
Additionally, regular mindfulness practice bolsters the immune system, can be effective in reducing the impact of chronic pain, and can help to relieve drug and alcohol dependence.2
Children and teens experience similar benefits to adults as well as:
- reduced reactivity and aggression,
- improved sleep and self-esteem, and
- greater calmness, relaxation, and self-awareness.
Mindfulness practice can also contribute to cognitive development, helping young people to be more focused, to think in more innovative ways, use existing knowledge more effectively, and enhance planning, problem solving, and reasoning skills.3
Compassion and Empathy
One of the most powerful effects of mindfulness practice, whether for adults or youth, is that in as little as eight weeks, the insula – the part of the brain that houses compassion and empathy – expands. This means that those engaged in mindfulness practice become more compassionate and more empathetic; two qualities in great demand in our world.2
Joining Edible Gardens with Mindfulness Practice
Bringing garden design and mindfulness practice together fuels our connection to the earth, to ourselves and to one another, helping us to build healthy communities as we grow healthy food.
Bring In the Gardens programming on edible garden design, mindfulness practice and spirit to your school, business or congregation. Topics include:
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Movement Practice
- Incorporating Mindfulness Practice into your Business or Community
- Mindfulness and Spirituality
- Gardens and Spirituality
- Earth Stewardship
- Healthy Eating
- GMO Foods, the Butterflies and the Bees
- Bal Tashchit – You Shall Not Waste
- Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim – Why Kindness to Animals Matters
- Pikuach Nefesh – Organics and Saving a Life
Additional topics can be designed with your community or business
- 1 From the study: Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress (2015), by Agnes E. Van Den Berg, Mariette H. G. Custers.
- 2 Research taken from Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
- 3 Research published by Weare, Katherine (2012), “Evidence for the Impact of Mindfulness on Children and Young People,” The Mindfulness In Schools Project & the University of Exeter Mood Disorders Centre.