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The role of earthwork in expanding understanding of self beyond societal concepts of masculinity

Created & Facilitated by Black Men's Therapy Fund & Natalie Cox (Grow With Natalie) 
Category: Interactive Horticultural Therapy Workshop


Launched in 2022 in Toronto and funded by Kindred Foundation, the goal of the What You Water Will Grow: The role of earthwork in expanding understanding of self beyond societal concepts of masculinity project was to improve the diversity and cultivate healing relationships to place and land while engaging in facilitated dialogue on mental wellness and positive masculinity, providing a unique experience for young people who are disproportionately and systemically disconnected from land-based healing opportunities, quantity of food available for the immediate community, support local producers, and ensure that Black men are involved in agricultural production in their communities.

We are living during a time in which we are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, with declining access to fresh air and green space. Studies have shown that digging in dirt alleviates stress, releases anxiety, and can help us heal. Here, groundwork can become an antidote to the isolation, desolation, and individualism bred by navigating oppressive systems and concrete jungles. This in-person workshop offers theoretical discussion and a hands-on opportunity to explore how planting, gardening, and reconnecting with nature can provide sustainable pathways to improve mental health and well-being. Gardens are much more than spaces where food is grown. The process of nurturing a garden reminds us of the beauty and power of community care. Beyond their nourishing qualities, gardens create space for belonging,  self-soothing, community building, accountability, reflective practice, and collective care. Attendees are invited to lean into the restorative value of horticultural therapy, plant their vision for the future, and tend the soil for individual and collective healing.



120 mins




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