June Letter: Taking Care of Our Bodies

Dear farming and earth-tending friends,

It occurred to us that we didn’t properly introduce our monthly letter yet!  If you opened our email last month, you might have wondered what these letters are all about.  We hope to offer you monthly inspiration, words of wisdom and encouragement, and practical ideas to support wellness and connection practices in your farming pursuits.  This letter is also simply a way of keeping in touch with many of you who have joined us in programs thus far. The long, sweaty, hot days of summer are here, and we want you to know we are thinking of you, appreciate you and the good work you’re doing, and are earnestly developing more opportunities to gather after the growing season (more below).

Our poem this month speaks to growing and shedding.  I thought of it this morning as I watched the first poppy in the garden toss off its huge furry bud shell.


The self you leave behind
is only a skin you have outgrown.
Don’t grieve for it.
Look to the wet, raw, unfinished
self, the one you are becoming.
The world, too, sheds its skin:
politicians, cataclysms, ordinary days.
It’s easy to lose this tenderly
unfolding moment. Look for it
as if it were the first green blade
after a long winter. Listen for it
as if it were the first clear tone
in a place where dawn is heralded by bells.

And if all that fails,
wash your own dishes.
Rinse them.
Stand in your kitchen at your sink.
Let cold water run between your fingers.
Feel it.

-Pat Schneider

Be Well June Theme: Taking Care of Our Bodies

This month, we focus on self care as it relates to the physical body.  Farming can be so demanding that we often ignore aches and pains, thirst and hunger, as long as we possibly can.  Yet, listening to and caring for our bodies (our inner ecosystems) is just as important as the needs of our animals and crops (our outer ecosystems). For those of you seeking some help, ideas and practical perspectives on body care, we offer a few articles and resources below:

Farm Work and Your Health: Summer on the farm is a healthy place to be, but avoid pushing your body to the limit.  Read the article from Small Farm Quarterly here.

Consejos Para el Cuidado Corporal de los Trabajadores Agrícolas | Body Care Tips for Agricultural Workers. Read this article from La Cooperativa Campesina de California. (Many related articles on this site also available in Spanish)

Self Care for the Female Farmer.  Read the blog post by Green Willow Homestead


Be Well Project News

We are so pleased to announce two winter retreat opportunities!  For those of you eager for an in-person experience, the Be Well Farming Project will be hosting a 3 day wellness retreat at Friendly Crossways Retreat Center in Harvard, Massachusettes on December 10-12th. For those who prefer to join from the comforts of home, we are also offering a virtual version of this retreat, to take place December 1st – 3rd.  More details about the programs will be upcoming.

Finally, we know there are a lot of things calling for your attention right now.  If you’d like to offer any feedback or appreciations for this letter, we’d love to hear from you.  But either way, we are sending well wishes to you, whatever your growing season is bringing this month.  Whether you farm in an urban or rural area, may the gifts of nature bring you peace.

Until next time, be well.

Violet, Anu, Jennifer, Daniel, Rachel and Leslie
The Be Well Farming Team

Violet Stone

Violet's work focuses on creating retreats, workshops and programs for the agricultural community centered on themes of connection, wellness, purpose, integrity and courage. She sees this work as contributing to a more inclusive ‘culture’ of agriculture where all voices are warmly welcomed, honored and celebrated, including the voices of our ‘inner teachers’, sometimes referred to as 'spirit' or 'soul'. Violet serves as the NY SARE Coordinator and can help farmers and educators navigate NESARE grant opportunities.
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