I've met a lot of remarkable people in Princeton, N.J., and Dorothy Mullen is one of them. Several years ago, she decided to try her hand at organic gardening, borrowed a book from the public library, then set about following the instructions, beginning with plowing under her front yard.
Not only did she create a garden where she generously encourages neighbors to help themselves to the abundant flowers, herbs and vegetables, but she has since expanded her vision to encompass local school children.
At several elementary schools in the community, she organized the establishment of organic gardens where kids learn first-hand where their food really comes from. It encourages healthy eating and an interest in helping the environment as well. Some of the bountiful mint grown at the schools is an ingredient in ice cream made by "The Bent Spoon," an outstanding gelato shop in Princeton's Palmer Square. Nearly all the proceeds from the ice-cream are donated back to the garden projects at the school.
As if that weren't enough, Dorothy, who is a holistic health care practitioner, also can take credit for helping people with addictions of any kind - cigarettes, alcohol, food - move past them and live a healthier life. Through a program called Suppers For Sobriety that she conceived while working on her masters degree in counseling, members can learn how to move past their addiction and turn around years of damage to the body and spirit. It all starts out one supper at a time. According to the website, SuppersforSobriety.org, the format includes preparation of a simple, stability-promoting meal, a brief meditation or stress management exercise, time to share, and the Suppers forum, which involves readings of materials that may help people in recovery find the help they need. Some meetings also include outdoor walks or cooking lessons.
The only requirement for membership is the desire to lead a healthier life in body, mind and spirit, Dorothy says. "If you can make a pot of coffee, you can make a pot of soup."