by Michelle Durst
It is a beautiful day here in the mountains. Spring is in the air! The sun is shining, the snow has melted, and all the thunderstorms have rolled on through. With the warmer days, I start the grand tradition of playing in the dirt and planting!
I absolutely love gardening. The joy of seeing baby seed leaves peeking out of the ground, the thrill of harvesting food you have grown yourself, that first tangy bite of sorrel after the long winter nights. Ah, it is truly wonderful.
It is always incredibly humbling and empowering to realize that with every seed I plant, I am part of a human tradition stretching back thousands of years. Your parents ate fruits and vegetables, your grandparents ate fruits and vegetables, and back and back and back! Thousands of years ago when the fields were watered bucket by bucket, seeds were being coaxed into abundance by a farmer. Every bite of leafy greens you eat was grown by someone. That lettuce was planted by someone. That cucumber was cared for by someone. That broccoli was harvested by someone. A plate of veggies is the culmination of an entire season of love!
Gardening is not just a wonderful way to connect with our roots (…I regret nothing!) it is also good for us. Playing in the dirt is healthy. According to the researchers at Rockefeller University in New York City and Swansea University Medical School in the United Kingdom, plain old dirt has microorganisms that are incredibly effective against a wide range of harmful bacteria, including MRSA. Not only that, Christopher Lowry, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol, found that dirt actually acts as an antidepressant! By playing in the dirt we boost our immune system, aid our mental health, and grow delicious, nutritious, food.