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Why nature’s touch makes you feel good

Whether we’re going on a hike, picnicking in the paddock, planting vegetables in the garden, practising yoga on the balcony, or simply stepping out of the office at lunchtime to get some vitamin D, there’s a reason for this. It makes us feel good.

If you haven’t yet met Lara McCall, the vegetable grower who features in the From Paddock to Plate Vegetable Virtual Video Excursion, then you should. While she clearly loves being outside, once of the other reasons she enjoys being close to nature is that she can sustainably provide food for her family to a point where they are now self sufficient.

“I really love going out to my vegetable garden. I love seeing seeds germinate, a plant growing bigger. And then, you know, for instance, say, an eggplant that might take almost five months to grow, i’s so satisfying when you cook it that night, that you planted it from seed and saw it grow the whole way. It just tastes so much better eating seasonally and fresh.”

Nature’s touch brings back survival instincts of ensuring bountiful food and water supplies. Farmers rely on the environment so that you can enjoy an abundant variety of foods, grown with the seasons, and reminiscent of summers with mango dripping down your chin or winters roasting hearty vegetables with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Without nature, we wouldn’t have these fond memories.

Lie on your back in the grass, looking up at the sky, the occasional cloud floating by, and I guarantee that all the hair pulling and coffee drinking caused by stress and anxiety over countless emails pouring into your inbox before you even got out of bed, will dissipate. Why? There are no phones ringing, people needing immediate responses, or social media distractions in this scenario. Just you and the ladybird beetle who has crawled onto your shirt.

While the challenges of farming are plentiful and unrelenting, I’ll never forget standing on a hill with my Dad after a hard day’s work, covered in mud, sweat and cow poo. The smell of the eucalyptus and summer rain in the air, and without a word spoken, simply watching the sun set over the farm, and taking time to soak up the breathtaking landscape that we live in. These are the moments spent in nature, surrounded by laughing kookaburras, bulls bellowing in a distant paddock and the soft glow over the hills that make all the hard work worth it. We just need to stop every once in a while to appreciate it.

Louise FitzRoy is the Founder and Director of From Paddock to Plate, Australia’s leading independent food education provider.

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