Hello everyone this is BethAnn from Vets to Ag. Sorry for the absence, it has been truly intense around here and I feel as if I just stepped off the crazy train. However, this got me to thinking about peaceful places and the benefit of spending time without stress and pressure.

One place we often find peaceful and a safe haven from the stressful work around us is home. For many this generates a picture of a home with a family around the dinner table or television. And by family I mean whatever group lives together under the roof. Today the 1950’s nuclear family unit does fill most homes. Roommates, multiple generations, single parents, and many other “family arrangements” fill our communities. All are families and all create a safe haven from the “Crazy Train” world we live in. What if we spread the word that a better family place than inside the home exists? What about the family garden?

Working together to nurture the seeds that grow into delicious food that feeds the family can be not only productive, but improve the bonds that bind a family. This is also true for community building. When neighbors work together to build and maintain a community garden, they are closer and stronger which in turn improves the welfare of the community.

The Soil loves you too!

There are several benefits of building and working in a garden. Obviously working together and strengthening the family is a huge benefit, as is reducing the costs of feeding the family. But what about your health? I don’t mean just from the delicious food you will be harvesting, but the benefits of reducing your stress levels, improving anxiety, and increasing your overall physical, mental, and emotional health. In an article called Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy, Bonnie L. Grant explains the benefits of gardening and exposure to dirt. People have known for a long time that gardening is a relaxing way to recharge and recuperate from a day on the Crazy Train; we just didn’t know why. Our Grandparents knew the benefit of many practices that have long been forgotten, or thought of as “old-fashioned” and dismissed. The truth is, they had it right.  Ask anyone who has a herb garden; they know. When I spend time watering the garden, I always spend a little extra time in the herb section because when the water comes in contact with the Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, and other aromatic herbs, the entire space is transformed into a aromatherapy spot, releasing my stress and raising my spirits.

But Ms. Grant focuses on the benefits of the microbes in the soil and their effects on our moods. They apparently have an effect on our neurons much like antidepressant medications. Apparently these microbes enter our bodies and work their magic, improving our overall mood, reducing our stress levels, and improving our concentration. The full article was originally written on the Cornucopia website and can be found here.

So, secure your computer and get off the Crazy Train at the next stop!  Go play in the dirt!  And take your family and friends with you. Everyone will be happier and have less stress, which just might make life even better!