Saturday, November 24, 2012

Being Thankful

I generally don't write about multiple outings to the same place or event.  There's way too much going on here for that!  But the Yoga Sanctuary's annual Being Thankful event at Worden Farm is just too special not to share.  And really, can we ever be too thankful for the abundance in our lives?

Yoga Sanctuary folks
The gang from the Yoga Sanctuary greeted Stephanie, Susan, and me as we pulled our mats from the car and got ourselves situated on the field.  It was a beautiful day after a morning that threatened some rain, and as we laid on our mats waiting for the class to start, the wind blew beautiful clouds across the sky.  I was in the zone before I uttered my first "om"!

I know I've said it before, but there's really nothing like doing yoga in the great outdoors.  Jen led us through a practice that left me feeling one with the world.  Her exhortation to root our feet took on a different meaning with the soil beneath them rather than a classroom floor.  The breeze came up on cue as we assumed tree pose, prompting her to tell us to experience the wind flowing through the branches of our trees.

Steph and I enjoying our tomatoes
After the practice, Eva Worden took us on an incredible tour of the farm, which is situated on 85 acres of land.  She talked about their vision of the farm as part of an ecosystem that includes the community of people who enjoy its harvest.  We picked cherry tomatoes off the vine and popped them into our mouths.  They were as sweet as candy.

Okra on the vine
 As we walked around some of the 20 fields, we learned that each bed has two to three cycles of crops each season.  We saw the greenhouses where little broccoli seeds are nurtured for about six weeks until they are hearty enough to be transplanted into the field.  We learned that okra is a high maintenance crop that has to be picked every two to three days.  We met one of the goats whose milk is made into cheese products that farm members have the opportunity to purchase. (Worden Farm is a co-op of sorts and its members can either go to the farm each week to select their produce or have a box of vegetables delivered to a central location and pick it up there.  Sadly, Worden Farm will not be operating its farmers' market at Fisherman's Village this year so Punta Gorda residents who want to enjoy the Farm's produce will have to become members.)

The event was a benefit for the Good Samaritans of Charlotte County, and I'd be remiss not to say a little bit about their mission.  The Good Samaritans provide emergency assistance to residents of Charlotte County who find themselves struggling as a result of a lay-off, an illness, or the high cost of prescription drugs.  The organization operates a food pantry five days a week (which, during the season, includes fresh vegetables from Worden Farm) and offers financial assistance with utilities.  Thanks to a new partnership with Kay's Kloset, the program now also provides clothing to those in need.  It's yet another example of the good work that people are doing in this community.

We left the Farm feeling good inside and out.  It was a great way to prepare ourselves not only for Thanksgiving but for the holiday season.  It's all too easy to get caught up in the parties and the presents and forget that what makes the holidays special is spending time with friends and family (even if there aren't any chestnuts roasting over an open fire).    May your holidays be merry and bright.    

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