Wellbeing and Mindfulness
An edible garden or farm can provide a peaceful and healing space to help participants improve their wellbeing through getting in touch with soil, rain and water, insects and connecting with other community members. Horticultural therapy is the use of gardening elements in therapy carried out by a professional, but we can also include mindfulness elements to enhance our wellbeing during our time in the edible space.
In recent years, mindfulness has gained much attention, especially in fast-paced cities where people are often living in stress. According to Professor Jon Kabat-zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, people can cultivate moment-to-moment awareness by attending to our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment in a non-judgmental manner. It can not only alleviate both physical and psychological distress, but also strengthen our well-being.
To enhance the the effect of mindfulness practice, plants, especially herbs at an edible space can be incorporated as a source of stimulation for our five senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
Explore the edible space with your five senses!
1 Sight and hearing
As you enter the edible space, spend some time to appreciate the shape, colour and shades of the different kinds of plants. Then spend a moment to close your eyes and listen to the sounds near and far. Do you hear birds chirping, bees buzzing or leaves rustling in the breeze? Do you hear the sound of the city, of people chatting, cars passing by or the noise of renovation? Listen and observe without judgement.
This is a privilege that can be enjoyed at an edible space. Pick a leaf of the vegetable or herb or a fruit and taste it. Take the time to really taste it without other distractions. Use all parts of your tongue to taste it and chew it slowly. After you've finally swallowed the piece, taste whether there is an aftertaste in your mouth.
2. Touch and Smell
Walk closer to the plant that attracted your attention. Use your fingers to gently rub the leaves and feel the texture, feel whether they are thick or thin, rough or smooth. Then you can smell the aroma that is transferred to your finger, you might be surprised by the natural aromatic scents of the plants. Try this on several plants to feel the difference.