You’ll find me at the community garden

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This month, I’m officially entering phase one of The SAVOR Project! I’ve secured a plot at Ridgewood Park, a SW Portland community garden, and over the next few seasons, I’ll use this space as a demo garden to highlight the benefits of interacting with and cultivating an urban edible garden. It will also serve as the meeting place for a number of low-cost public offerings through The SAVOR Project’s “outdoor school” workshop series. Most of what I harvest from this plot will be given away to workshop participants and the Produce for People Program. Read More

A new planting year begins

It’s that time again. I’m clearing out the vegetable beds closest to our house. I’m rinsing out my  germination flats with bleach, and filling them with seedling mix. I’m fondling seed packets, and paging through piles of seed catalogs.

What will I grow? How will it go? How can I work with nature, and what is beyond my control?

So much. So much is beyond my control. It’s dizzying, it’s terrifying, what’s beyond my control.

And on some levels, it’s simplifying. Thanks to the lessons I’m learning as a student of therapeutic horticulture, I’m recognizing better the parallels between daily life and gardening.

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SAVOR’s resolutions (and why)

20200121_144504When I retired from my clinical role in 2019, I’d spent over fifteen years counseling clients on a variety of concerns, with a long-standing specialty in mindfulness-based eating disorder treatment. Training in self-compassionate awareness led individuals to develop a more positive relationship with food and their bodies.

Also, I adore food. I love growing, cooking, eating, reading, and talking about it.  Food is my love language. I’m at my happiest when I’m helping others reclaim their birthright of pleasure and connection with food.

So, in the face of the typical New Year’s resolutions that often focus upon what we shouldn’t be eating, and all of the associated “dangers” of food, I’ve put together this short list. Read More

The scoop on savoring practices

From Embracing the Good, a chapter in the Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook (Neff & Germer, 2018):

“Savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life – taking them in, letting them linger, and then letting them go. It is more than pleasure – savoring involves mindful awareness of the experience of pleasure…” (p.161)

Let’s be honest. How often do we miss opportunities to savor because our minds are nowhere to be found? To be distracted, to wake up breathing this morning (hooray!) and yet to find ourselves pulled in a hundred directions before our feet hit the floor – welcome to the experience of being human. So it’s for good reason that we call this the practice of mindfulness, the practice of mindful eating, the practice of savoring. Guess what? We get our whole lives to strengthen these skills.  Read More

Random thoughts on The Biggest Little Farm

Thanks to my Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) training over the past couple of years, I’m quicker to reach for self-care strategies when I’m feeling bereft and hopeless. Instead of “checking out” (like I did last night), I look for opportunities to pause, and re-connect. What always sustains me is nature, especially edible gardening, cooking, and food stories. 

I’ve been meaning to watch The Biggest Little Farm for quite a while, so I dove in this morning. What follows is not really a coherent blog post but rather a series of thoughts that arose. Read More

Sowing Seeds of Change

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Twenty years ago, I didn’t know the difference between annuals and perennials (hint: the former dies off each year, the latter returns), or how to grow vegetables. Twenty years ago, I was newly married, saving up to buy our first house, a fixer-upper that would exhaust most of our (very limited) time and money. Plaster and lathe, exposed wires, and vintage linoleum, oh my.

But the joy and wisdom that came from cultivating my own little garden? Abundant.  Read More

On food culture and scarcity

20190925_134730 (2)My fondest memories from childhood occurred around the dinner table at my grandparents’ house. In this picture taken when I was five years old, I’m visiting our “East Coast relatives” in New York City. My grandfather, a labor activist and steel mill worker, grew up on the Lower East Side, and my grandparents met in Queens, before they eventually migrated to the West Coast.

I remember how my grandfather loved to reminisce about the many diverse foods he missed from his old neighborhood. He’d laugh and slap his knee as he described his own father, a Ukrainian immigrant, peddling fruit on the street corners, calling out: “Apples! Bananas! Pears!” Read More

What is mindful eating?

health-safety-and-nutrition-300x300From the seminal book, Mindful Eating, by Jan Chozen Bays, MD:

“Mindful eating is an experience that engages all parts of us, our body, our heart, and our mind, in choosing, preparing, and eating food. Mindful eating involves all of the senses…”

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Savoring winter greens

20191201_124752It’s a relief to catch my breath after the frenetic pace of summer. Winter is a time of rest, both for the soil and for our bodies. Shorter days, cooler weather – an opportunity to slow down, go to bed earlier, take stock of the previous months and contemplate what lies ahead. Recently, however, I wandered outside to visit my neglected vegetable beds and reacquaint myself with my edible garden.

Around the yard, the bare limbs of our apple, pear, and hazelnut trees were outlined against a heavy gray sky. Much of the garden appeared dormant and yet life pulsed just below the surface. A few beds offered their remaining bounty – herbs, a lone rutabaga and kohlrabi hiding beneath an overgrown forest of aragula, a last row of leeks, a small patch of beets.

As usual, I’ve impressed with the hardiness of greens like kale and swiss chard, and how they often persevere through frost and snow.  Aren’t we all like this – surprising in our resilience? Read More

On the value of pausing, and food justice

9389a10aa827004f79c4f63dbe307fd3.jpgIt’s been exactly two months since I’ve closed my practice as a psychotherapist, but it already feels like I’ve been away a lifetime. During that time, I’ve celebrated birthdays and an adoption anniversary, given a whole lot of attention to my edible garden, volunteered at local farmer’s markets as a Master Gardener, written a little, cooked a lot, and read a handful of books.

I do miss sitting with all of you, feeling awed by the courage and vulnerability and determination I saw every day. I miss being of service, feeling connected to a profession that is doing good things and working hard to remedy past wrongs, individually and collectively. I miss bearing witness to so many stories, those jewels of human experience. Read More