390: Lena Roos on Religion and Gardening.

Bringing together nature and theology.

Lena is a Full Professor, teaching History of Religions in Stockholm Sweden. She is also an avid allotment grower of vegetables who last year harvested (literally) a ton of vegetables from her 120 square meters in two allotments in urban Uppsala. Originally a medievalist, she specializes in inter-religious relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims during the Middle Ages. Her other research includes topics like religion and volunteering, religion and sexuality, religion and food, and more recently religion and gardening.

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Lena is about to embark upon a new research project on faith-based community gardens and would like to get in touch with people currently involved in such.

In This Podcast:

Her background is in studying the connections of religion to many aspects of daily life and Professor Lena Roos is now focused on how religion and gardening are interwoven in our past and what that looks like in our present. She discusses several key religions of the world, the garden connections, and even how some myths built upon gardening and creation themes. She is asking for input on her current research and wants to know of active faith-based community gardens.


Listen in and learn about:

    • Being a professor and studying uncommon topics
    • The goals of Abrahamic religions to return to paradise or garden
    • Specific instructions in the Bible around gardening
    • Attempts to recreate the original gardens
    • Ancient history nature was dangerous – garden was safe and secure
    • Monastic religions kept busy and avoided idle hands
    • History shows monasteries providing a lot of agriculture research
    • Buddhism seeks out enlightenment, and Zen Buddhism can be reached through mediocre tasks
    • Vegetation and agriculture are part of every religion
    • Ecological myths that ___ creation and origins
    • Nordic myths even cover the creation of Meade
    • Gardening myths with Greek Goddesses Persephone and Demetria
    • Faith based communities and gardens
    • Givers and receivers and how gardening blurs these lines
    • An EPIC story about a young man who heard one on her presentations as young adult and later being an activist standing up to religious persecution of others
    • She is looking to connect with Religious based gardens for her study project on how they affect their community

As well as:

Her failure – Not knowing when to give up and try something different

Her success – Being the first in her extended family to not only become a professor, but to do so in a male dominated field.

Her drive – her background in martial arts – if you have the privilege to learn something, you have a duty to pass it on

Her advice – When you are learning, ask yourself ‘Do I have good reason to believe this?’

Lena’s Book recommendations:   

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (Revised Edition) by Giulia Enders

How to reach Lena:

Email:  lena.roos@sh.se

Lena’s Profile page at Södertörn University  HERE

Producer’s Note:

Check out Lena’s Blog article on Religion and Gardening HERE



Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and know that you are supporting a small business.

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