Mental hygiene: Meditation as self-care

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson’s research on the effects of meditation on brain function made waves when it was released in 2002 — and the work continues to drive growing interest in meditative practices. He’ll deliver talks at UNC Asheville on Thursday, Feb. 13, and Friday, Feb. 14, both free and open to the public. First, though, associate psychology professor Patrick Foo will lay some groundwork on the science with a presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Jewish Farmer Network cultivates ancient agricultur­al wisdom

Despite WNC’s history of agricultural knowledge and abundance, the legacy of Jewish farming — and its deep wisdom surrounding food security, land ownership and community building — has remained shrouded in relative obscurity. The Fairview-based Yesod Farm + Kitchen is working to change that narrative.

Volunteers at the St. Eugene garden

Lay leaders tie faith and environmen­tal action

For the first time, the Creation Care Alliance’s annual retreat, taking place at the Montreat Conference Center on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, will include both clergy and lay leaders. While the first day remains focused on ordained ministers , its second day will offer “learning, grieving, inspiration and training” for all who connect their faith with creation care.

Wise Women gather at Kanuga

“The focus of the conference is woman to woman, kind of kitchen to kitchen,” explains Byron Ballard, who will present a workshop on traditional Appalachian healing methods at this year’s Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference at the Kanuga conference and retreat center near Hendersonville. “It’s about women being together in a women’s space and being free to talk, to do, to teach and to learn from each other.

Confederat­es at Calvary

Last month marked the 400th anniversary of the introduction of slavery to North America, triggering a new round of national soul-searching about human bondage and its complex legacy. And closer to home, Lost Cause-era monuments to Confederate figures at Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher also raise significant questions about the country’s troubled history and this region’s place in it.

Concerns over appropriat­ion of wellness rituals spark conversati­on among local practition­ers

Rituals that draw on the traditions of indigenous, non-Western cultures are part of a growing industry at the intersection of health, wellness and spirituality. Some in Western North Carolina have raised concerns about whether it’s appropriate for non-native practitioners to offer and profit from traditional practices and techniques.