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September 28, 2017

Hello Dear Friends!

Today you will find two new harvest gems in your baskets: freshly picked radishes and a braising mix. The braising mix is really just the Mesclun Salad Mix (not to be confused with the drug, Mescaline!) that has had another week of growing. My die hard spring mix salad fans will probably just eat this as sal-ad. But the more sensitive palates like my husband who pre-fers iceberg lettuce, might enjoy them as the braising mix. Think of braising mix as fresh spinach that you don’t boil the life out of but simply throw into a pan with some olive oil, gar-lic, salt and pepper and gently braise until wilted. I had some for lunch and sprinkled about a tablespoon of fresh Parmesan Reggiano on top. So satisfying and healthy!! My Italian dad would have definitely topped with red wine vinegar!

Every Thursday when our volunteers come together to gather in the harvest of seeds planted a few weeks or months ago, I feel happy. Today the cool Autumn air was refreshing and the birds were singing . I have always loved being in nature and I love to eat so the concept of an edible garden is just about the closest thing to heaven on earth for me. So, I was thoroughly intrigued but not at all surprised by a new study by Stanford Researchers recently reported in the New York Times. There is now quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression.

I have copied an excerpt from the article.

“Feeling down? Take a hike.

A new study finds quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression.

Specifically, the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to participants who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain asso-ciated with a key factor in depression.In the study, two groups of par-ticipants walked for 90 minutes, one in a grassland area scattered with oak trees and shrubs, the other along a traffic-heavy four-lane roadway. Before and after, the researchers measured heart and respi-ration rates, performed brain scans and had participants fill out ques-tionnaires.

The researchers found little difference in physiological conditions, but marked changes in the brain. Neural activity in the subgenual prefron-tal cortex, a brain region active during rumination – repetitive thought focused on negative emotions – decreased among partici-pants who walked in nature versus those who walked in an urban en-vironment.

This finding is exciting because it demonstrates the impact of nature experience on an aspect of emotion regulation – something that may help explain how nature makes us feel better,” said lead au-thor Gregory Bratman, a graduate student in Stanford’s Emmett In-terdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, the Stanford Psychophysiology Lab and the Center for Conservation Biology.

“These findings are important because they are consistent with, but do not yet prove, a causal link between increasing urbanization and in-creased rates of mental illness,” said co-author James Gross, a profes-sor of psychology at Stanford.”



For a country that loves coffee as much as we do, did you know that just 20 minutes outdoors can have the same pick-me-up effect as a cup of coffee because of the instantly energising powers of nature? We all intuitively know that spending time in nature is great for our health and wellbeing, and there are many studies to support this. Deakin University’s Health, Nature and Sustainabil-ity Research Group’s associate researcher Dr Rona Weerasuriya, who co-wrote Beyond Blue to Green: the benefits of contact with nature for mental health and well-being says Australians need to get out among the greenery. “Nature allows the opportunity for people to experience relaxation, rejuvenation, improved affective states and connect with people, among a host of other health and wellbeing benefits,” she said. “Simply escaping out into nature pro-vides the freedom, relaxation and physical activity, which is need-ed and known to have a positive impact on mental states such as anxiety and depression.” And research conducted by a Mel-bourne University team has also found taking ‘green booster breaks’ throughout the working day can give our mind the rest it needs. Melbourne University researcher Dr Kate Lee said natural views improve attentiveness for fatigued workers. “We have shown the unique properties of natural views boost concentra-tion to top up energy reserves so tasks feel less effortful. This means employees may feel and perform better at work,” she said. “Research also suggests that workplace greenery provides an en-riching experience that helps employees feel more engaged at work.”

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