Sankofa Garden Homes: The many benefits of living in the garden

CLARENCE GLOVER | 10/17/2018, 9:18 p.m.
This month I will focus on another theme that does not have direct relationship to planting or harvesting in our ...
Professor Freedom enjoys a relaxing moment in his Sankofa Garden Home Patio in his front yard. Collard greens and marigold flowers are in the foreground. Albert Williams

Sankofa Gardening Homes

This month I will focus on another theme that does not have direct relationship to planting or harvesting in our Sankofa Home Gardens. I would like to focus on “living in the garden.”

Our African ancestors who built America spent many hours working in gardens, but they spent little time living in the gardens.

While they spent more time outdoors than we do today, being outdoors was a matter of necessity because they lacked many of the conveniences we lavish in today. Sitting under a tree or cooking on the grill was a way of staying cool and not heating up the house, thus indirectly reaping the benefits of what being outdoors offered.

You may be asking, “How do I live in the garden?”

The first thing I would like to note is that modernity has forced most people in the U.S. to spend more time inside their homes rather than outside.

The results of this is breathing bad air, little exercise, less human interaction and detachment from nature. Air conditioners, televisions and comfortable furniture have robbed many of us of the gifts that nature has to offer.

As in last month’s article, I would like to offer some tips from sources that can help us appreciate the value of living outdoors or “living in the garden.”

Ex Design Group – http://www.exdesigngroup.com – offers the following five tips related to the value of creating outdoor living spaces:

  1. Reduce stress: Find your refuge – a place for quiet contemplation that offers an antidote to the hustle and pressure of life. It might be relaxing on an outdoor recliner. Listen to the gentle sounds of nature and feel the stress melt away. Therapeutic outdoor spaces are the latest trend in healing stress relief, but throughout history gardens and outdoor spaces have been used to aid in the healing process.

  2. Boost the immune system: Exposure to trees is said to possibly prevent asthma. Having natural surroundings results in an increased immune system. It also encourages children to play outdoors rather than on concrete or confined inside.

  3. Promote good vision: Spending time outdoors is said to help your vision. It can prevent nearsightedness in 6 to 12 year olds.

  4. Help with ADD/ADHD: Interaction with constant noise and stimulation can be very distracting and demanding of your attention. Having an outdoor space in a busy city or urban environment gives you a relaxing space away from it all. In children with ADHD, a 20-minute walk in a park may improve the ability to concentrate, so imagine what a serene outdoor space could provide.

  5. Help with depression symptoms: If you are looking for an all-natural way to boost your mood, turn to nature. Spending time outdoors can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Whether you have depression or want to improve your emotional health, start findings ways to get outdoors each day. Having a natural outdoor living space at home can help make this happen every day.

While many of you may have thought of creating an outdoor space, you may have stopped short of doing so because you think it will be too expensive, or you don’t have the room or time.