Connection, Gratitude, and Happiness: Simple Gifts of Time Spent in Nature
As April arrives, our minds begin to turn to how we will fill the summer days. This is especially true if you have children who will be off school for the summer. After the fast pace of the school year, you may find yourself longing for simpler, more grounded ways to spend summer days. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing to spend time in nature. In our opinion, there’s no better place to do so than at a farm!
There’s science that backs up this claim. According to Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and a leading expert on the science of happiness, spending time in nature has numerous benefits for our mental and physical health. "Nature is the ultimate source of awe, wonder, and beauty," he says. "It has a powerful effect on our emotions, helping us to feel more connected, grateful, and happy."
You’ve probably already found this to be true as you’ve experienced natural beauty with your families. Strawberry Run can help you and your family share in the joy of nature together. It’s one way for you to feel more connected, grateful, and happy this summer.
With scattered schedules and smartphones or Ipads that keep us more connected to screens than to each other, we need to find as many opportunities for shared experiences with each other as possible. One of our most basic desires is belonging, or feeling connected to others. When we work together toward a common goal and create a shared memory, we will feel more connected to our families.
Imagine this: instead of going to a movie or the mall or the pool, you have planned to spend the morning at Strawberry Run. You get up early and put on your berry-picking clothes. (The choice is yours, but straw hats and bandanas might be a fun addition!) Soon you and your family are on your way to the farm! As you get off the highway and travel the country roads (cue John Denver’s Country Roads!), you find you’re really all in this together. You’ve probably rolled all the windows down now and you’re all singing loudly. You’re beginning to connect, and you’re not even at the farm yet!
Once you’re here, you all grab one of the baskets we have waiting for you, and you make your way to the fields. As you begin picking, you show each other your reddest, plumpest finds and compare how many each of you has picked. Maybe you high-five each other for your strawberry-picking prowess as you have your berries weighed, pay, and are on your way. In just a morning, you’ve formed your own little berry-picking community, and this “social support that comes from being part of a community is crucial for our well-being," says Keltner. Don’t forget to take photos so you can relive the joy of connectedness later.
It’s not very hard to cultivate a feeling of gratitude when you’re picking berries with people you love. On a farm, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature in a way that few other places allow. You can breathe in the fresh air, bask in the warmth of the sun, and marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds you. You can experience mindfulness as you focus on one thing fully: finding that next perfect strawberry. With each one you pick, you can give thanks for the ground, the seed, the plant, and the weather that brought each berry into being. And, of course, you feel gratitude for the time you carved out to be in nature with your loved ones.
Happiness is a feeling that springs to life in us when we have experienced a time of connection (in nature recommended!) with loved ones and expressed gratitude. All three go hand-in-hand. Brené Brown, social scientist and author of Atlas of the Heart, says “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
So, when you get home, find joy in the ordinary: rinsing off your strawberries, dishing them up, and eating them together. You’ll feel happy–we promise! Better yet, make one of the recipes you’ll find here on our blog together as a family. Working together in the kitchen is another way to slow down and connect, so you’re sure to feel gratitude and harness even more happiness in as you work together both in the field and in the kitchen!
And, so as you begin planning your summer and putting events on the calendar, don’t forget to include some outings to Strawberry Run. You’ll feel joy knowing you’ve provided experiences in nature for your family.
Connection, gratitude, and happiness await you here. It’s just that simple.
Strawberry Run Farm’s Summer Calendar
Mid-May through October
Farmer’s Market Season begins: come see us in Lebanon on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and in Wilmington on Saturday mornings! See our March blog for our offerings (which include produce and our private-label preserves, soda, and salsa)
Mid-May to Mid June
Strawberries are ripe for picking!
Our inaugural blueberry picking season begins!
Throughout the summer
We’ll have broccoli, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet corn at the farm!
Check back throughout the summer for a more detailed calendar!