Growing Hope in our Gardens

We are looking forward to gardening again this year.

At The Mustard Seed, there are three very special words we often use – Hope Grows Here. Those three words mean many things.

In the summer, we see hope blooming in our residents’ rooftop gardens at our downtown buildings where we offer permanent supportive housing to people who have experienced poverty and homelessness.

Gardening is expanding this year

This year we have plans to increase our gardening efforts. One of the rooftop gardens is getting a makeover, and we are starting a garden at the shelter.

We will have a vegetable and herb garden that will supply the shelter kitchen with fresh herbs and small vegetables such as pea shoots and shallots.

Residents and Volunteers dig in

Last year, residents and volunteers planted flowers and vegetables in early June. Cam, a resident at one of The Mustard Seed’s permanent supportive housing units, says, “It’s nice to be outside in the sunshine and plant some food for later.”

Karon, who’s also a resident, says, “I’ve always enjoyed gardening and I get to play in the dirt! I don’t get that otherwise.”

Research finds psychological benefits to gardening

Along with the benefits of growing your own flowers and vegetables, gardening is a good way to fight stress.

Dutch researchers observed two groups of people who were subjected to stress. Both groups were given a stressful task, and then one group was told to relax by reading indoors of half an hour, the other group was instructed to garden for half an hour.

After 30 minutes, the gardeners reported being in a better mood than the readers and they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin – English Poet