Community and personal development go hand in hand. While we can feel powerless to make a significant contribution to our communities, we thankfully always have the power to make a change in our personal lives.
Easier said than done!
Personal development can be, to say the least, pretty intense. Thankfully, it does not always require intense solutions, but rather long term application of simple solutions, some of which have been around for quite some time but continue to be underappreciated, such as gardening. From Paris Jackson using it to cope with grief over the passing of her father to various food experts such as Michael Pollan and Jamie Oliver suggesting that we get back in tune with the source of our food, and taking into account he steady increase in community gardening, this activity helps improve our mental health, the quality of our personal food supply, and the environment. This is not to say that gardening will magically make all these issues disappear. But why not channel our anxieties over the state of [insert choice source of anxiety here] into concrete action that has proven beneficial?
Gardening helps improve physical health, mental health, and brings us other personal benefits while benefiting the environment and the community. It provides us with fresh air, with significant enough exercise to trim down waistlines, and with cheap organic produce; it encourages an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables and home cooking. It is a solitary, meditative, relaxing activity. That its fruits (literally!) can be shared in the short term with our loved ones is a significant mood booster. It decreases annual grocery bills and our dependency on oil (less transportation). Community gardens help create and nurture bond of friendship between neighbours.
Beginning can be as easy as purchasing artificial flowers as inspiration such as the ones offered by Nopparat88 and EleganceLife. Another easy step is to grow herbs inside. Various kits (GrowandMake’s for example), tools, and equipment (like these cute Mason jar mounts) are available online. For more serious house gardening, check out this planter box, this more intense grow box, this potato growing box tower that will probably provide enough potatoes for even the most French Fries-obsessed family, and this hydroponic grow box which gives gardening a whole new look.
Whatever you decide to do, let me know; if enough readers send in their personal stories, I would love to write up a follow-up post. Nature has a lot to offer us; we have a lot to learn about how we can allow her into our urban, hectic lives. Where will you start?
Image credit: Chad Mauger.