This fall we have been blessed by a woman named Elena Velez, who has been conducting weekly health and wellness classes for our field and packing shed crews - she calls the work “CRT” or “Restorative Community Oriented Trainings.”
Elena worked for 16 years as a medical interpreter in a workers comp setting for Latinx communities. She was struck by the volume of injuries she saw, not only because of excessive and repetitive work conditions, but also because workers didn’t often know how to position their bodies, how to breathe and stretch etc. She noticed this as an opportunity for education around health, mindfulness and stress management to enhance the Latinx community’s lifestyle while reducing costs on workers comp cases.
The first week of her class on the farm, Elena presented our teams with 5 tools for healthy living (using the metaphor of each as a necessary ingredient in “pozole,” the beloved Mexican corn soup): breathing, gratitude, stretching, sleep and nutrition.
On top of delving deep into each of these tools, Elena makes her trainings culturally appropriate, physical, fun and interactive. Each session includes a 2 minute meditation, stretching, breath work and lots of back and forth conversation with team members. People share their own stories and Elena opens up too, highlighting the challenges she and immigrant communities often face in our society and the added stresses and health risks posed on their lives. Our teams have grown to trust and open up to Elena and are excited when she shows up every week - folks line up after class to ask specific questions and she also leaves space for anonymous feedback.
We are beyond grateful to have Elena as a resource to our staff here at Frog Hollow Farm during this intense time. If you are interested to learn more about her and her work, please visit her website.
Rachel, Farm Assistant