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Morgan Justmann

Blue Zones Project Intern

Its official, summer is here.

Whether your gardens are planted, or you are just getting started, it’s growing time. If you’re on the fence about planting a garden, it’s not too late. You may even be surprised with all the benefits gardening can provide. In a Jan. 12, 2018, mercola.com article “Grow Your Own Food,” Dr. Joseph Mercola states that growing your own food is a convenient and cost-effective means of boosting your nutrition and health. Gardening allows time for you to move naturally and the product helps you eat wisely. Following these Blue Zones Project Power 9 principles can be the foundation for a longer, healthier life.

Growing your own food may be intimidating, but it can also be rewarding. Getting started with a garden doesn’t require a green thumb or a big backyard. You can begin with a few houseplants or even just a small plot of your yard. In one of the five original Blue Zones, the Sardinians eat whole grains, goat cheese, an occasional serving of meat and Cannonau wine; however, they mostly enjoy a plant-based diet. They spend time outside soaking in the sun and the beauty of nature, while tending their garden to provide fresh produce for their families.

Not only can you provide food through gardening, but you can also find pleasure in the art and science of it. Every year, as spring is ending, my dad reminds me that it’s almost time to plant the garden. When I was growing up, I can remember asking my mom “where’s dad?” She would point to the garden and I would see my dad, hunched over amongst all the plants. To this day, my dad still spends hours on end in our garden. He doesn’t do it as a requirement, he does it because he truly enjoys being outside and providing for our family.

Gardening can also bring relaxation and joy. CNN Health published a July 8, 2011, article about the benefits of gardening. The author shared a story of a woman who has been growing vegetables in her backyard for three years. She mentioned that “when you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful.” This can be true for anyone.

When it’s finally time to harvest your garden, another fulfilling moment is near. As there are several stages in gardening, I find the end to be the most beautiful. All the hard work in planting, weeding and watering the garden can be so worth it when you have a variety of fruits and vegetables right before your eyes. Taking it to the kitchen and preparing colorful, tasty meals can be the most rewarding part and it’s also healthy.

You too can enjoy providing food for your family like my dad and find beauty in the art of gardening like the woman mentioned in the CNN article. We can all strive to be like the Sardinians. Move naturally to eat wisely, and appreciate a long, healthy life.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-392-9408, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com or visit bluezonesproject.com.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-392-9408, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com or visit bluezonesproject.com.

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