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This is an odd little piece. The author applauds gardening because it is a great example of Joseph Pieper's "active leisure." That's a great observation.

But she puts it in the context of community gardens, which, the author says, lead people to sharing produce, time, and conversation with plot neighbors. At times, the piece almost seems to applaud community gardening only, though I don't think that's the author's intent. I think the intent is to apply a different angle to Ray Oldenburg’s concept of a “third place" ("With home first and work second, Oldenburg holds that the third place—a public place of “neutral ground” for interaction--could function as an antidote to the increasing atomization encouraged by modernity and the “automobile suburbs").

Kevin Majeres suggests a different way of reading Joseph Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture. He says that, wherever Pieper uses the word "leisure," substitute "mindfulness." He says it works in almost every instance throughout the book.

Mindfulness, it's worth pointing out, tends to be associated with the right hemisphere. Here's how Chap GPT explains it:

Mindfulness, as a state of focused attention and non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, is often associated with activities that activate the right hemisphere, such as meditation, introspection, and heightened sensory experiences. These practices may emphasize qualities like openness, curiosity, and interconnectedness, which align with the characteristics typically attributed to right-hemisphere processing.

I have no objection to the concept that community gardening is a mindful activity: You can be mindful in any setting or activity. But I don't think it's as "meditation-prone" as gardening by oneself, so I'm inclined to think it's less conducive to mindfulness in general.

I look at meditation as the intense exercise that leads to mindfulness. Meditation, in other words, might engage the right hemisphere more than mindfulness, with the result that a brain primed by meditation is more likely to be mindful (to have the right hemisphere engaged) throughout the day.

It is difficult to achieve a meditative state with a lot of distractions--or even the threat of distractions. That's why I'm inclined to think solo gardening is more right hemispheric--and overall more conducive to the mindfulness life--than community gardening.

But like I said, it's a lovely little piece regardless.