Mind, Body and Soul

The holidays are over and so is 2018, and we understand if you’re feeling a little bruised, weary, ready for a reset. January is a good time for that, and for some self-repair. Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find soothing balm. For some, gazing at a snow-topped Mount Baker, bathed in winter’s alpine glow, can do the trick. For others, it’s art or music, a day at the spa or in a bubbly tub. Healing — the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again — sounds perfect for this time of year. Over the next few pages, we give you some ideas to start repairing mind, body, soul. So find a comfortable nook, pour a mug of hot tea, and settle in. (You might want to gather some coloring pencils, too.) Enjoy.

Community Garden Feeds Soul

In our era of mega grocery stores and Blue Apron-like businesses delivering prepped meals straight to our doors, it is easy to be disconnected from the food we eat. These convenience-first methods to feed ourselves and loved ones further separate us from the soil, seed and work it takes to grow fruits and vegetables. Until I had the opportunity to grow my own vegetables in our 200-square-foot plot in the Fairhaven Community Garden, I had rarely considered where my food came from. Working in the garden over the summer settled my mind, worked my body and, eventually, gave me fresh vegetables.

The City of Bellingham rents 195 community garden plots for just $40 annually. In addition to the rental fee, my partner and I spent around $80 on compost and seed for our first season. Along with a good amount of time and sweat, our investment certainly paid off financially as we bought very few vegetables from the grocery store July through September. The most beneficial aspects of the garden were not monetary, however. I recall picking our first zucchini and looking at this beautiful plant in disbelief, “I grew that,” I thought, “Wow!” From the first eight-hour day spent tilling the soil and planting seed, to hot days weeding, I enjoyed it all.

One benefit to the garden I never expected was the opportunity to build community with people I would have never met otherwise. As newcomers, our plot neighbors offered gardening tips and advice — as well as extra produce from their gardens. It didn’t take long to see that Kenny and I alone would not be able to eat all that our garden could produce. We shared tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash with friends and family and found new ways to cook and store what we couldn’t eat fresh. I look forward to another summer season that will challenge both my body and mind.

To help you get started on finding your own community garden, see:
Whatcom County: cob.org
Skagit County: extension.wsu.edu
San Juan County: communitygarden.org

To continue reading our Healing Feature, click here.

"Working in the garden over the summer settled my mind, worked my body and, eventually, gave me fresh vegetables."