A Community Affair
Keeping watch for ripened fruit can become a collective act, in more ways than just the obvious. Plant a selection of fruits and vegetables along walkways and generate sitting spaces that welcome a good book and a basket readied to gather up food. Welcome neighbours to sample from hedge rows yielding berries of all varieties. Establish a community produce box that boasts a sign reading: "Free to a good home". Reaching out and connecting with others pumps out the fundamentally human stimulant known as Oxytocin. This lovely chemical drives our empathy and our generosity of spirit.
Oxytocin also floods the spotlight when work together in cooperation. Harvesting bushels of apples and transforming a kitchen into a canning clinic unites people in an environment of productivity. Trust and deep connectedness flourish and when we work together and quickly replace anxiety and depression. Poke around a little, and find out who would be willing to pass down some age-old wisdom in your community. Generations once shared food preservation and preparation naturally, and in practical ways. Be creative and connect young and old alike in the spirit of the harvest.
The "Harvest High"
Our brains are built for survival. Tucked inside our "hunter-gatherer" instincts is the rush of reward we feel when we've happened upon food. Whether we are foraging in our fridge or the forest, the brain still sends a "hit" of dopamine with the intention of reinforcing our behaviour as something we should be doing again and again. Dopamine is known as the "pleasure chemical". As your garden lights up with ripened fruit, your brain will surge dopamine levels and keep your senses keen and sharpened for more. Not only will your gardening interests become highly addictive, they'll also replace other addictions you may have rolling around in there that you'd rather trade for healthier alternatives. There is no such thing as a gardening hangover.