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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Benefits of Growing Food, From Pain to Recovery

Updated: Jan 16

Imagine your hands, usually clenched against the pain of loss or the grip of addiction, gently cradling a tiny seed, whispering promises of life yet to come. This, my friend, is the magic of gardening for recovery, a symphony of soil, sweat, and resilience played out in your backyard.


Growing food isn't just about filling your plate, it's about filling a void. The rhythm of planting, tending, and harvesting becomes a daily ritual, grounding you in the present moment, a welcome anchor in the storm of grief or temptation. Each sprout that emerges is a silent victory, a testament to your own strength and the nurturing power of nature.


And as your tiny seeds push through the earth, so too do your own buried hopes. Watching a tomato ripen or a lettuce unfurl its leaves becomes a metaphor for your own healing, a reminder that even after darkness, there is always the possibility of light and growth.


Gardening isn't just therapy, it's community. Sharing sunshine-kissed strawberries with fellow travelers on the road to recovery fosters connection and understanding. The soil becomes a shared canvas, each seed planted a symbol of individual and collective healing.


So, go forth and dig in the dirt, breathe in the scent of damp earth, and let your fingers become conduits of life. Plant a seed of hope, water it with your tears, and watch it bloom into a garden of resilience, joy, and a future as abundant as the harvest at your feet. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and even the smallest seed, given love and care, can blossom into something beautiful. Now, go forth and cultivate your own recovery garden, one sun-drenched sprig of hope at a time.


Growing your own food has many benefits, both for your health and for the environment. When you grow your own food, you know exactly what is going into it. If you wish, there are no pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. You also have control over the growing conditions, so you can be sure that your food is getting the best possible care.


Gardening can help heal trauma in a number of ways. It can provide a sense of control and accomplishment, which can be helpful for people who have experienced trauma and feel like they have no control over their lives. Gardening can also be a way to connect with nature, which can be healing for people who have been traumatized by violence or abuse. Additionally, gardening can provide a sense of community and support, as people can connect with others who share their interest in gardening. Here are some of the ways gardening can help heal trauma:

  • Sense of control and accomplishment. Gardening can provide a sense of control and accomplishment, which can be helpful for people who have experienced trauma and feel like they have no control over their lives. When you garden, you are responsible for the care of your plants. You get to decide what to plant, where to plant it, and how to care for it. This can be an empowering experience, and it can help you to feel like you are in control of your own life.

  • Connection with nature. Gardening can also be a way to connect with nature, which can be healing for people who have been traumatized by violence or abuse. Nature can provide a sense of peace and tranquility, and it can help you to feel grounded and connected to something larger than yourself.

  • Sense of community and support. Additionally, gardening can provide a sense of community and support, as people can connect with others who share their interest in gardening. Gardening can be a social activity, and it can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. It can also be a way to connect with people who have experienced similar traumas, and it can be a source of support and understanding.


If you are interested in trying gardening as a way to heal trauma, there are a few things you can do. First, find a gardening class or program that is right for you. There are many different types of gardening classes available, so you can find one that fits your interests and level of experience. Second, find a supportive community of gardeners. There are many online and in-person communities of gardeners, and they can be a great source of support and information. Finally, be patient and don't give up. Gardening can be a challenging activity, but it is also a very rewarding one.


I now imagine a garden, not just rows of veggies, but a canvas for healing. For someone recovering from loss or substance abuse, planting a seed isn't just about tomatoes, it's about planting hope. Each tiny sprout is a testament to resilience, a reminder that even in the harshest conditions, life finds a way.


Tending a garden becomes a daily dose of mindfulness. The rhythmic pull of weeds, the sun-warmed soil on your fingertips, the hum of bees – it's a sensory symphony that drowns out the whispers of doubt. The focus shifts from the inner storm to the quiet dance of nature, a grounding force that steadies the mind.


But the magic goes deeper. Nurturing a plant from seed to harvest is a metaphor for personal growth. Watching something fragile blossom under your care fosters a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Each plump tomato, each crunchy carrot, becomes a tangible reward for perseverance, a reminder that even when things seem bleak, there's always potential for sweetness.


Sharing the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor adds another layer of healing. Gifting a neighbor a basket of sun-kissed tomatoes, or preparing a meal for loved ones with ingredients you lovingly cultivated, strengthens connections and builds a sense of community. It's a way to give back, to show the world that even after the darkness, you're still capable of nurturing something beautiful.


So, if you're on a road to recovery, don't underestimate the power of a trowel and a seed packet. A garden isn't just a patch of dirt, it's a fertile ground for healing. It's a place to reconnect with nature, with yourself, and with the joy of creating something beautiful, one sprout at a time. So, go forth, plant a seed, and watch your resilience bloom alongside your vegetables. You might just surprise yourself with what you can grow.


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Anna was a young girl who lived in a small town in Phillips, Wisconsin. She had a happy childhood, and she was close to her family and friends. One day, Anna's brother, who was older than her, came home from the army. He had been in a war, and he was very different from the person he had been before. He was angry and violent, and he started to hurt Anna. Anna was scared, and she didn't know what to do. One night, Anna's brother came into her room and started to hit her. Anna tried to fight back, but she was no match for him. He pulled out a gun and shot her. Anna was badly injured, but she survived. Anna's brother was arrested and sent to prison. Anna had to go through a lot of therapy to recover from what happened. She is still traumatized by the experience, but she is slowly starting to heal. Anna is determined to make a difference in the world, and she wants to help other people who have been abused. She is now a spokesperson for victims of domestic violence, and she works to raise awareness about this issue.


A year later, Anna's therapist suggested that she try gardening as a way to heal. Anna was hesitant at first, but she decided to give it a try. She went to the local nursery and bought some seeds and plants. She cleared a space in her backyard and started to plant.


At first, Anna found it difficult to focus on gardening. Her mind would wander, and she would get lost in her thoughts. But she kept at it, and slowly but surely, she started to feel better. She found that gardening was a way for her to connect with nature and to feel grounded. She also found that it was a way for her to be productive and to feel a sense of accomplishment.


As Anna's garden grew, so did her sense of peace and well-being. She started to sleep better, and she had fewer flashbacks and nightmares. She also started to feel more connected to the world around her. She realized that she was not alone, and that there was beauty in the world even after trauma.


Anna's garden became a place of healing and peace. It was a place where she could go to escape the world and to connect with her inner self. It was a place where she could feel safe and loved. Gardening helped Anna to heal from her trauma and to find peace and happiness in her life. It is a powerful tool that can help others who are struggling with trauma to find healing and hope.


Gardening has been shown to be a helpful tool in the healing process for trauma survivors. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Sense of control and accomplishment. Gardening can provide a sense of control and accomplishment, which can be helpful for people who have experienced trauma and feel like they have no control over their lives. When you garden, you are responsible for the care of your plants. You get to decide what to plant, where to plant it, and how to care for it. This can be a empowering experience, and it can help you to feel like you are in control of your own life.

  • Connection with nature. Gardening can also be a way to connect with nature, which can be healing for people who have been traumatized by violence or abuse. Nature can provide a sense of peace and tranquility, and it can help you to feel grounded and connected to something larger than yourself.

  • Sense of community and support. Additionally, gardening can provide a sense of community and support, as people can connect with others who share their interest in gardening. Gardening can be a social activity, and it can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. It can also be a way to connect with people who have experienced similar traumas, and it can be a source of support and understanding.

  • Physical activity. Gardening can be a form of physical activity, which can help to improve your physical health and well-being. Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and it can also help to improve your mood.

  • Mindfulness. Gardening can be a mindful activity, which can help you to focus on the present moment and to let go of negative thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can be helpful for people who are struggling with trauma, as it can help them to cope with difficult emotions and to find peace and relaxation.

  • Sense of purpose. Gardening can provide a sense of purpose, which can be helpful for people who are struggling with trauma. When you garden, you are taking care of something that is alive. This can give you a sense of responsibility and meaning, and it can help you to feel like you are making a difference in the world.






Research has shown that spending time gardening is good for our bodies, our minds and gives us the strength to heal. If you have grown your own food, you've experienced positive benefits. You step into the garden of life and it lifts your spirits.

People who have spent time in a garden, observing the wonders of nature and growth, appear to have a deeper understanding of the cycle of life and the dynamic nature of all things alive. Switching our attention from our own life to that of the plants in a garden has been shown by science to be a very powerful strategy. Higher levels of gratitude, higher levels of happiness, and less depression, as compared to people who did not participate in gardening. Gardening gives us gracious permission to feel grateful and not alone. Gardening allows us to accept the bad and appreciate the good by entrenching our minds in deliberate, ongoing effortsto tune into the magic that is all around us. When we spend time in a garden we see the obvious; Plants, sun, rain, and dirt, and the not-so-obvious; Photosynthesis, plant genetics, soil microbes, plant roots, acting as tiny pumps, transferring nutrients, life and water to the rest of the plant structure.


Studies have shown that people who grow their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables than those who don't. This is because they are more likely to have fresh, ripe produce available all the time. They are also more likely to experiment with new recipes and try different types of foods.


Growing your own food can also help you to save money. The cost of buying food at the grocery store can be high, especially if you are buying organic produce. When you grow your own food, you can save a lot of money in the long run.

In addition to the health and financial benefits, growing your own food can also be a lot of fun. It is a great way to get exercise, spend time outdoors, and connect with nature. It can also be a great way to learn about the food you eat and where it comes from.


If you are interested in growing your own food, there are a few things you need to do to get started. First, you need to decide what kind of food you want to grow. There are many different types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that you can grow at home. Once you have decided what you want to grow, you need to find a spot in your yard or garden where you can plant your seeds or seedlings.


You also need to make sure that you have the right tools and supplies. You will need a shovel, a hoe, a watering can, and some potting soil. You may also want to invest in some gardening gloves and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Growing your own food is a great way to improve your health, save money, and connect with nature. It is a fun and rewarding activity that everyone can enjoy.


Here are some of the benefits of growing your own food for healing from pain:

  • Fresh, nutrient-rich produce. When you grow your own food, you have access to fresh, nutrient-rich produce that is free of pesticides and other chemicals. This can help to improve your overall health and well-being.

  • Reduced stress levels. Gardening is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time outdoors in nature can help to improve your mood and outlook on life.

  • Increased physical activity. Gardening is a great form of exercise. It can help to improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your muscles.

  • Sense of accomplishment. Growing your own food can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. It is a rewarding experience to see your hard work pay off in the form of healthy, delicious food.




As a gardener, ask yourself, "is what I'm doing in the garden helping me or harming me". The simple answer is that gardening is a great help to our mental stability, understanding of the dynamic world, and obviously, the food we grow, organically, is good for our body and soul. Put away the smartphone, put away the need to check social media feedback. Instead, grow garlic, and other amazing plants in your garden. Be kind to yourself. What a huge impact gardening has had on many lives. Participating in gardening, it does not require rocket science, instead if involves very ordinary processes. Have a willingness to give it a try.


Most of us have had difficult times in our lives due to a loss of a loved one, sickness, natural disasters, divorce... The list goes on. The journey we thought we were on, takes a nasty right turn and takes us on a bumpy road that we never asked for. A route we never wanted - a path never anticipated. If you ever feel lost, I urge you to start a garden and lean into the garden's green pallet. Grow flowers and food - heal your wounds. Though, like life, gardening is not always easy.


"Therapy is a process of helping people to heal from emotional or mental wounds. It can be a very effective way to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Gardening is a type of therapy that uses the natural world to help people heal. It can be a very relaxing and enjoyable activity, and it can also be a way to learn about plants and nature.


There are many different ways that gardening can be used as therapy. Some people use it to help them deal with grief or loss. Others use it to help them cope with stress or anxiety. And still others use it to help them improve their mental health overall. No matter what your reasons are for gardening, it can be a very rewarding experience. Not only will you get to enjoy the beauty of nature, but you will also get to learn about plants and how to care for them. And, who knows, you might even start to feel better mentally and emotionally.


Here is one example of how gardening can be used as therapy:

Sarah is a young woman who has been struggling with depression for several years. She has tried traditional therapy, but it hasn't been very helpful. She recently started gardening as a way to cope with her depression, and she has found it to be very therapeutic.


Margaret loved spending time in her garden. She found it to be a very relaxing and calming activity. She also enjoyed learning about the plants and how to care for them. She found that gardening had helped her to feel more connected to nature, and it has also helped her to feel more in control of her life. Margaret was still struggling with depression, but she found that gardening was a helpful way to cope with her symptoms. She was grateful for the therapeutic benefits of gardening."



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GroEat Farm is a small, sustainable family farm located in the beautiful Hyalite Foothills, in the shadows of the Gallatin Mountain Range. The hardneck varieties that they grow on their farm flourish, due to the combination of the very cold winters, heavy snowpack, moist spring, temperate summers, and the nutrient-rich and dynamic alluvial soils, washed down from the Gallatin Mountain Range.





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