We recently held a program of garden-based activities to celebrate the Fall season at the Zaferia Junction Community Garden. Forty children, who were accompanied by parents and caregivers, came to the garden for an adventure of planting seeds and seedlings, designing and painting paper butterflies, and decorating pumpkins.
When we talk about something being therapeutic, we mean that doing a certain activity or engaging in a particular behavior helps us feel better. Feeling better physically and emotionally can have a profound impact on a person’s sense of well-being. This applies to children and adults alike. When individuals and families engage in healthy and positive interactions in the garden, they can take a break from the stressors of life and take time to move around outdoors, allow creative expression to flow, and share space with other like-minded people and groups.
Garden-based activities like sowing seeds and planting seedlings give participants a chance to engage with the wonder of nature. There is a life-affirming quality to appreciating how the smallest of seeds can grow into a plant that can nurture and inspire us. There is also an opportunity to feel good about following instructions, correctly completing a task, and taking home a plant to care for!
Getting to think outside the box with activities like using rosemary sprigs as paint brushes and nature materials to decorate pumpkins provides an opportunity for creative expression and learning new ideas, which leads to feelings of improved self-esteem and accomplishment. Participating in group activities in a healthy and accessible environment allows everyone involved to socialize in an open, safe manner with others, no matter their background or ability level. Positive social opportunities help to stimulate our “feel good” neurotransmitters and can reduce a sense of isolation and loneliness.
At Long Beach Organic, we strive to add to a healthy community by increasing opportunities to grow sustainable and healthy produce, to learn and practice new skills, and to enjoy the wonders of nature in a safe and accessible urban setting that is available to all who want to participate.
We hope you will join us for a garden adventure soon!
Karen Haney, M.A., HTR
Long Beach Organic, Inc.
Director of Education and Gateway to Gardening