The Magic of Communal Gardening

Good for Body, Mind, and Soil


Vanita on getting down and dirty


I love putting my hands into soil. Everything about it. The texture between my fingers, the cool, slightly damp feeling. And I especially love how it literally smells earthy!

I’ve always enjoyed puttering around the garden, ever since I was a kid. I used to help my grandfather plant flowers, vegetables, and herbs. It’s how we bonded.

He taught me how to get the soil just right and ready for seeding. Through gardening, I also learned the importance of consistency and patience. Watching my grandmother use the plants we grew to create phenomenal dishes taught me that the consistency and hard work paid off deliciously!

My love of gardening was one of the reasons I couldn’t imagine living in the city or in an apartment complex. Where would I go to get my soil fix?! I need space to really stretch out and be outdoors. So when I saw the communal garden at Priya Living, I was all in.

Fresh, Local, and Collective

Our community garden here is vibrant and full of diversity. There are flowers of course, but it’s the produce – the veggies and the Ayurvedic plants we grow – that make it so much more for me.

We are literally able to harvest our own food and spices. Just like my grandfather used to. My neighbors and I take turns cooking communal meals, and we love that we know exactly where our food comes from. We know because we grow it ourselves!

You need some tulsi (basil)? We got it. Dhaniya (coriander)? Ditto.

We’re able to grow almost everything we need to make our chutneys or salsas right here at home. And because we have such a bounty of vegetables, we’re eating more of them! Having them on hand all the time has made it easy to eat healthier.

The Healing Power of Gardening

Gardening gets us outside and we know that natural vitamin D is good for us. For me, a day out in the garden is like a spa day. It stimulates my senses – sight, sound, smell, and touch... And if I’m patient, it stimulates my taste buds too.

Becoming one with nature, reconvening with the earth: there’s a reason why we come back to these phrases over and over again. It’s because being in nature helps us feel better. Plants are therapeutic.

So if you’ve had a rough day, go on, get your hands dirty! Science says it’ll make you feel better. Putting your hands in soil improves your mood. It boosts your energy levels, which in turn promotes better sleep!

Having greenery around us improves our mental health and eases the effects of depression and anxiety. In recent decades, the medical community has rediscovered the link between wellness and healing through green spaces. This is why hospitals across the world are incorporating healing green spaces, gardens, and flowerbeds into their architectural design.

Gardening is also a great form of physical activity for seniors. Think about it: you’re moving your body, you’re stretching, and you’re lifting. It stimulates your muscles and keeps you limber and flexible while keeping your bones strong. It lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol, and can even prevent osteoporosis.

Gardening as Connecting

Our garden here at Priya Living has been another way for all of us to connect. The community-building around gardening is quite wonderful. Growing things together, cultivating and tending the communal garden has helped cement many of the friendships I’ve made here.

Gardening has enhanced our sense of belonging and community. We bond over our work in the garden and then we eat what we grow, enjoying the fruits of our labor!


Are you ready to get your hands dirty? Get in touch to find out more about our communal gardens and our communal meals, or to arrange a private tour of our brand new Fremont City Center location!