The Gardeners


My quest for the farmers led me to the gardeners

The association between food and health has for a some time, intrigued me. Whether it be the lively debate regarding the changes to the countries food source, or the ability of those passionate, creative chefs to offer up new ways to consume the same old meal - food and it's intertwining relationship with health, has my attention.  

My quest to find some answers to my burning questions, led me to the 35th Annual Making Brooklyn Bloom taking place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  My goal was to have a face to face with a urban farmer and set up a subsequent visit to the field (although my ultimate wish is for some smart alpha male to accompany me to the one of the boroughs newest gems, North Brooklyn Farms, for dinner under the stars).

 Instead, I was surrounded by a large crowd of very passionate growers who take their gardening very seriously!  Not only was I was able to chat them up, and bask in their warmth as they welcomed me to their pride and joy (Brooklynites have much love for their botanic garden), I was able to get the rundown on herbs and health via classroom training in the educational oasis of Greenhouse #1.  The course:  Plants that Heal.

Standing in the quiet coolness, surrounded by lush greenery, participants were given a hands on crash course in herbs and their healing properties.  For example, I had no idea that the simple little herb oregano had such a laundry list of uses including:  fatigue, muscle pain, toothache, gum disease and sinus pain, just to name a few.  What about the power of the mighty cinnamon and its ability to fight the common cold, high blood pressure and tackle the loss of appetite (something people going thru chemo experience on a regular basis).  Lastly,  I was reintroduced to the time tested herb rosemary whose accolades  include treating heartburn, age related memory loss and relief of coughs, just to  name a few.  

The session ended with cautionary warning to check in with our doctors to discuss the benefits of herbs and how they can be incorporated into our diets.  Lastly we were given the unique opportunity to build our own lavender sleep bags and sample some seriously, soothing herbal tea.

So do I have a what it takes to transform my backyard in Harlem into an oasis, stocked with healthy herbs & scenic greenery or will it remain a concrete landscape?  Will I eventually get my 1 on 1 with an urban farmer?   Mmmmm.  Stay tuned!  The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's lush landscaping and soothing exhibit's provided much needed inspiration.