Our first workshop in the community garden at Corazon Healdsburg felt like picnic lunch with old friends. We stared in the garden, harvesting Calendula flowers for next month’s medicine oil making workshop. Dozens of radical Calendula plants have broken free of their garden beds to take over the space, which consists of 20 something plots tended by neighborhood families. So far we have yarrow, california poppy, white sage, valerian, epazote, lemon balm, peppermint, and borage growing in abundance. Jose and Mercedes, who live around the corner, come everyday with their son to water.
At midday, we moved into the shade to exchange recipes and remedies for Type II Diabetes, a chronic disease that affects 11% of Latinos in Sonoma County. We focused on recent studies that show the correlation between stress and blood sugar. After scrawling cycles of pancreatic insulin production and cortisol levels on a small chalkboard, we exchanged family recipes for nopales asados (grilled cactus), verdolagas chile verde (purslane in tomatillo salsa), and tomatillo salsa with raw garlic . Nopales, verdolagas, and raw garlic are traditionally used in Mexico to reduce blood sugar levels in type II diabetics. We shared a potluck lunch of frijoles a la olla (beans from the pot), kale salad from the garden, watermelon and te de jamaica sweetened with local honey.
Over lunch we shared our stories of overcoming health challenges such as cancer, back pain, and chronic stress. In one particularly moving testimony of roots, resilience and recovery, a participant shared her process of realization that a traumatic event in her early childhood had led to chronic migraines and recent life threatening illness. There is powerful healing in this opportunity to share our stories and our paths to recovery.
We are so thankful for the open hearts and hardworking hands of the community gardeners and herbalists that are coming together for the Botanical Bus wellness workshops at Corazon Healdsburg!