Worms make the world go ’round

I’ve written previously about vermicomposting and the value of cultivating a healthy worm system in your garden, but here are a few more resources I’ve come across in the past week. Plus, exploring the world of worms is a fun, family-friendly activity. And a good way to assess the health of your soil, if you’re contemplating a new edible garden or just wondering how well your garden is doing. All part of The SAVOR Project’s “growing healthy gardens, families, and communities” educational mission!

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Growing food + community

Recently, I reflected upon how edible gardening’s many benefits extend well beyond mind/body health, and a sense of pleasure, efficacy, and empowerment, to directly impact the larger food system as well.

Over the past five years, I’ve intentionally created a life that centers the mindful, socially conscious growing of food. In doing so, I realized how much I’m also financially supporting a wide range of organizations and industries that share my green passions. Here’s just the ones I came up with:

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SAVOR monthly digest

Welcome to the newest SAVOR digest – an appetizer plate of what I’ve been exploring (and recommending) in recent weeks. I’m continuing to feature educational content related to mind/body health, although I’m no longer breaking information into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR).

This particular digest happens to focus heavily on mindful eating, therapeutic horticulture, and savoring. Pretend it’s a buffet and sample what you’d like. Enjoy!

Next month, I’ll return to a limited schedule of telehealth (online individual psychotherapy) services, focused upon stress management and women’s health. But this educational arm of The SAVOR Project will continue and eventually, after I’ve completed my second vaccine dose, I’m hoping to offer low-cost, socially distanced classes in various community garden spaces. Stay tuned.

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Food, mindful eating, and social justice

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a deep dive into the mindful eating literature. Although much is familiar terrain after nearly two decades of studying, practicing, and teaching mindful eating, I was delighted to recently discover Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community: Food for Social Justice, a collection of essays written primarily by community leaders of color. Below, you’ll find highlights from some of my favorite chapters, and if you are a teacher or practitioner of mindful eating, I highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book.

Throughout the book, personal stories about food, culture, and faith are interwoven with nutritional guidance, mindfulness and mindful eating instruction, and discussions about racial equity and food justice. A collection of prayers and blessings (from a variety of spiritual traditions) and delicious recipes are also included – integral parts of a truly “mindful meal.”

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Sowing seeds of health

Over the past month, I’ve been busy sowing seeds (mostly indoors) for this upcoming growing season. After recently downsizing from a small farm to an urban setting with space only for container gardening, I’m making the most of what I have – and devoting a fair amount of time to cultivating healthy, nourishing soil, the foundation of growth.

This is a good time, as well, to review the health of our own metaphorical soil, so essential for our minds and our bodies. Increasingly, on this blog as well as in my social media postings, I’ve referenced how our daily behaviors can positively or negatively impact health. While it feels like we’ve all been held hostage during this pandemic, we can still amend our lives with adaptive behavioral responses that also serve to boost our personal resilience.

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All winter I was lost

This evening I was reading food-related poetry and came across this poem by Camille T. Dungy, which I’m still unpacking. Here’s a taste. You can reach the entire poem courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:

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SAVOR weekly digest

This week’s digest will be a little shorter because I’ve spent most of the past week watching sessions from the Embodied Social Justice Summit – there’s still time to purchase access to this amazing line-up of speakers and presentations. I look forward to re-watching some of my favorites when the collection is re-released on February 15th.

After this post, I’ll move to a condensed monthly digest as I dive back into the intensive growing season, which will also include a return to short psychoeducational webinars in the near future.

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Edith’s zucchini bread

Several weeks ago, I signed up for a Food Writing class. I’ve written briefly about a similar class I attended in 2015. Whenever I dip back into the literary world, I feel grateful for the gift of receiving others’ writing and for the chance to share discussions about the craft. However, I’m mostly interested in the process of storytelling, the power of storytelling, the magic of storytelling – and how it helps us heal.

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SAVOR weekly digest

What a difference a week can make! Our world is constantly changing and as always, our lives are filled with ups and downs. Delicious and painful impermanence. Such a dialectic. As we greet one other and each moment, a warm helping of mindful awareness and self-compassion goes a long way.

A reminder from last week’s digest about how I’m loosely organizing these posts into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR), to align content with The SAVOR Project’s mission:

  • HEAL supports mental health treatment and trauma recovery.
  • GROW is additional growth-oriented resources, to include art, social justice, therapeutic horticulture, and mindfulness practices.
  • SAVOR because positive emotions boost overall health.

Please keep in mind, as always, that you can save these digests for a later time because they’ll often contain a dizzying array of resources – kind of like a big meal you can’t expect to eat all at once, so save some of what follows for “leftovers,” to be enjoyed at your own pace.

HEAL:

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the impact of trauma, as it relates to mind/body health and our responses (individually and collectively) to the crises unfolding in our world. In a conversation with a psychologist colleague recently, we discussed how the research on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) is gradually making its way throughout the field of healthcare and also how our understanding of what constitutes an “adverse” experience continues to evolve, to include intergenerational poverty and systemic racism. If you haven’t viewed this TED talk video by pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who is now the Surgeon General of California, I’d recommend it:

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Life is like a bucket of worms

A statement perhaps more apt during this past year (depending upon your experience of 2020, your perspective on our creepy-crawly garden friends, and/or whether you’re taken up gardening during the pandemic).

Worms are essential players in our soil’s ecosystem, improving aeration and breaking down organic matter into castings (otherwise known as worm poop), which are a rich source of nutrition for plants. Call me crazy, but I think worms are super cool. There’s a load of things I can’t stomach in our world right now, but I can hang with worms. Worms don’t require social distancing, and they don’t pitch a fit, or assign you more chores, or post comments on your feed that are cringe-worthy. They just eat garbage, and poop…pretty much the whole relationship. Like I said, pretty cool.

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