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Black Women and Gardening: Health, Sisterhood and Growth

So I was sitting in the car with my husband while talking on the phone with my good friend about how covid-19 has sent us in a downward spiral. With no insight on how this pandemic is going to end; and not being anywhere near finding a resolution, can build anyone's anxiety to the point of becoming mentally and physically effected. We further spoke on how we (black people) should use this time to better ourselves and become more self sufficient, because who knows where this crisis will lead us, at that point I got a quick epiphany. Within in seconds, I mean as quickly as it came to me, I said it with conviction "I'm going to be a healer".

I don't know if many of you are familiar with someone being a healer but it's all kinds. You can be a spiritual healer or a natural healer; which just means that you have the resources or the capabilities to restore someone's damaged, unbalanced, diseased health and make them better. If someone is feeling spiritually unfulfilled then that spiritual healer will use the resources or know how to give that person whatever enlightenment they need to awaken that spiritual connection. I, personally, was referencing to being more of a natural healer which has more to do with using knowledge and natural resources to help cure people with their physical and maybe even some mental health issues.

The first thing I thought about was plants that could help with covid symptoms such as respiratory infections, fevers, and pneumonia. I researched how all these plants; from herbs, vegetables, succulents to other house plants, have so many medicinal properties that can be a natural remedy to help with a lot of ailments, pains and sickness that we suffer with. With that being said I decided to purchase my first set of crops. I could've started with seeds first but I never grew or took care of a plant before so I decided to purchase a couple of baby plants from Walmart's Garden Center.

I bought an aloe vera, lemon balm, peppermint, sage and basil; which all have the properties that help with any type of respiratory infections, viruses and bacteria. I honestly, were going to stick with just my herbs but I realized how many fruits and vegetables have medicinal properties so I bought vegetables and fruit seeds and began planting. Now I do have to recognize that I didn't just go in cold turkey. I did find groups such as Black Girls With Gardens (which by the way is probably the best Facebook group to get you started) that helped me tremendously on any questions that I had or just providing information that I might not have known. That group has definitely curated a sisterhood within gardening and making it a safe space for Black women that doesn't necessarily tend to happen to often.

To see the overwhelming amount of Black women who have started gardens; whether it's in the ground or in containers (finding out that I could container garden made life a little bit easier) made me feel great and at 'awww' at the same time. It's like we're in this secret society that allows us to connect with each other and get back to our roots. Our roots where our ancestors plowed the grounds and gave it life with the seeds they sowed throughout slavery. So pick up gardening gives us some type of connection with our past while connecting us with our present and connecting us with each other.

When I first started gardening I felt so accomplished when I saw my babies growing and sprouting from seed. To see something you plant start to grow is an experience within itself, and we won't even speak on how I felt when I actually harvest my first crop. You couldn't tell me I didn't study in agriculture. Through this time of coronavirus and black injustice; having a garden certainly keeps you grounded with everything going on. It gives you a since of peace being able to put your hands in the soil and nurture your plants to bare good things. Good things that put you in a place of independence because you can grow your own food and feed yourself and your love ones. Gives you a sense of being in control of something when you're in a world where you don't have much control on what's going on. This can ease the stress on your mental psyche, which in hand contributes to your physical health.

With gardening I've learned a lot about the foods we eat and how they're beneficial to our health; which turns out to help me with keeping my self knowledgeable and conscious about the food I put into my body. I'm also learning patience because gardening requires a lot of patience. The time you're waiting to see the seeds you plant actually germinate or when it's not germinating or growing creates you to have the patience to figure out what went wrong. It gives you the perseverance to not give up even if your tomato plant isn't baring any tomatoes, then you learn about self pollinating. Or if you have to start all the way back over because cabbage worms keep eating all of your cabbage. Listen, it's definitely trying and challenging but it's worth it when you harvest your first fruit, vegetables or herbs.

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