Donate - Help more of KC access nature's gifts for humanity.
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Our organization's workers are the first to tell you: Hardship happens, yes, and hunger sucks. But stress and malnutrition kill. Nature cooperation solves both of those conditions. Clement Waters Retreat amplifies people-borne sustainable solutions that honor life and improve human health within nature havens.
There are segments of the public for whom stress has consistently stemmed from earning a fraction of others' wages while paying for the same cost of living. For these individuals, even hard workers are more likely to experience premature loss of family, feel chronic hunger, and witness violence. More than counterparts with higher earnings, this person sees more asphalt and more abandoned "developments" of decades past. Where there is vegetation, it is overgrown, hiding litter, waste and crime. This is an existence of high stress and malnutrition, both leading contributors of lower life expectancies.
While the worst effects of nature deprivation are felt by people living in the hardest of urban cores, life for any city-dweller exposes a person to stressful realities that, prolonged over the years, can take a cumulative toll on mental and physical health. The damage caused by stress and malnutrition can be alleviated by a community focus on free gifts directly from nature.
Clement Waters Retreat's trauma support programs help people begin to practice mental health self-coping skills focused on order, peaceful presence and empowerment. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk wrote in his psychology text The Body Keeps The Score that significant improvement from trauma can be realized "by allowing the body to have experiences that deeply and viscerally contradict the helplessness, rage or collapse that result from trauma." Quietly, without pomp, immersive forest environments have a mysterious way of empowering people.
There is already a host of academic works on the subject of preventive health through nature relationships. Forest experiences elicit positive changes in the human body's cells when a person deeply connects to the natural world in a careful yet visceral manner. Since the pandemic made the great outdoors the only option for guaranteed uninfected recreation, there is likely to be further study shared in the medical field.
Clement Waters Retreat's food growing programs focus on direct nature-provided sustenance so people gain the ability to improve their own nutrient intake. The same nutrients that form plant bodies also build our bodies, and those little building blocks are more effective when fresh. Every 24 hours after being picked, food loses half of its nutritional value. Freshness matters for good health.
Consider this: Grocers in less affluent areas frequently purchase unsold produce from grocery stores in better connected areas and sell them as 'fresh.' The result is that even when residents of food deserts eat vegetables from the produce section of their grocery store, they are consuming less nutrients—just another example of market forces damaging those less fortunate. The only households who don't feel the impact of this reality are those which regularly practice food growing and foraging skills wherever food grows nearby.
Enter the Neighbor Grown Food Network, a growing family of household horticulturists who share seeds and heirloom "intensive companioning" kitchen gardening tips with each other. Combining the promise of nature immersion and horticulture therapy with fresh nutrition, Clement Waters Retreat's community-building programs tip the scales back in favor of the people.