By: Samantha Guercio, Education Intern
Once again we find ourselves in the middle of February and we all know what that means... That’s right, love is in the air! I’m not talking about chocolates, flowers, and romance. I’m talking about the love that is all around us! Love you can be a part of all year around without any help from Cupid!
Love of Mother Earth
On the farm, you can find love in every field, hoop house, and garden as you watch the tiny seeds grow into flourishing plants that provide fruits and vegetables that feed our community. These beautiful vegetables are planted and cared for by many hands here at Poughkeepsie Farm Project, and each worker, whether staff, intern, or volunteer, tends them with a full heart. An afternoon in the dirt will leave you with a profound sense of respect for the earth and all of the wonderful bounty it gives us. I’ve been working with the education department for a few short weeks and I can already see and feel the love that goes into the farm, the plants, and the classes that are rooted in gardening and healthy eating education.
Love runs deep on the farm especially in the lifelong relationships of all kinds that are born here. Everyone arrives to the farm with a smile ready to tackle the day. Employees and interns alike are always eager to meet new people throughout the community in programs such as farm visits, classroom visits, community cooking workshops, and volunteer opportunities on the farm. We also form strong ties with our CSA members who love to pick up fresh vegetables during our growing seasons!
Love Can Come in Small Packages
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes- some you can’t even see! These microscopic relationships occur within the soil and keep our plants healthy and our food abundant. Compost is widely used to bring nutrients back into the soil. However, without the insects, bacteria, and fungi that break it down, compost would never turn into the rich, highly nutritious soil that plants need to thrive. This is slightly reminiscent of the “I can’t live without you” love that we often celebrate on Valentine’s Day. Another example of tiny relationships are the insects that help pollinate the crops. While some may not call this kind of relationship “love” it is indeed a relationship where both the plant and the insect mutually benefit- kind of like they were meant to be together!
Connecting with the earth brings about a love within ourselves that cultivates a deep sense of self, mindfulness, and peace. There is something about being outside with the sun on your face, the smell of fresh air and plants, and the strenuous yet satisfying work of growing food that brings a person back to a place of inner peace. Not only is gardening great exercise, but it also provides you with vitamin D from the sun, fresh oxygen that revitalizes your cells, and fresh produce at the end of the day! Most importantly, we cannot forget the wonderful effects gardening has on the mind. I know when my garden gets going in the spring, I let my mind drift and relax for hours on end as I tend to the plants. It is therapeutic in a way that nourishes every aspect of the soul, and brings out the best in ourselves. When we feel good physically and mentally, we want others to feel good too, and that love is spread from person to person.
There are many forms of love and relationships in this world besides the romantic kind we often associate with Valentine’s Day. Most of this love is often right under your nose! You just have to be open to it and embrace it in all aspects of your life. No matter if you are married, in a relationship or still looking for that special valentine, there is still plenty of love to go around!