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Connecting Heart+Soil through singing, friendship and color

The past year has been extraordinary. It has seen lots of hardship and heartbreak but there has been plenty of creativity too as people seek to connect to others and to nature in new and special ways.

Connection between the power of nature and health of people has been central to what Lycored does since it was formed more than 25 years ago to share the benefits of naturally occurring carotenoids to improve heart, skin and vision health. In the last five years, it has celebrated connections between nature, people and health with a Heart+Soil Day.

The joy of singing

Singing is a good way of getting people together – the combination of a shared endeavour, vocal control, and the need to work as a team is good for mental and physical health. The pandemic means that choirs cannot physically get together, but digital technology means that online choirs can assemble and connect through music. It also means that a choir can be made up of members from around the world.

So, on Heart+Soil Day, Lycored colleagues from Israel, the US, Ukraine and Switzerland logged in for a virtual Zoom musical workshop led by London-based choir Director Dominic Stichbury. With encouragement, they overcame shyness and frozen screens to sing a specially commissioned song from Tennessee-based singer Drew Young – You Can’t Grow A Forest Without Seeds. Watch the video here

The event brought together people who may never have met before helping them connect in a way that is not possible through work alone.

While it was important that Heart+Soil Day brought together colleagues from around the world, it was vital that the event should deliver practical in-person benefits to the people living in the communities where Lycored operates too. Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, but for some it has been more devastating than others both in health and economic terms.

Playing their part in community building

Lycored’s commitment to the local community has been long-term. Over the years the Ukraine team has built a children’s play park in the local town where it operates. The need for children to get fresh air, play and escape the pressures of living and learning in an age of coronavirus is very important. So, the team members rolled up their sleeves and honed their construction skills to build a new rope park to enhance the existing facilities. It was opened in a socially-distanced ceremony, with local children declaring it a great success.

Sharing food and friendship

The pandemic has meant that daily life has become a struggle for some. That is the case in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, the home of Lycrored’s head office. Demands on the town’s soup kitchen has increased over the last year. Staffed by volunteers, the whole of Lycored’s team spent a day preparing a three-course meal for the kitchen. The next day some of the team served the food to more than two dozen visitors. The project not only brought the Lycored team together, but also strengthened its links to those in the wider community.

Color in the darkness

Having color in life has helped people through the pandemic and the colors delivered by nature are the most vivid and precious. The US Lycored team recognized this when planning their Heart+Soil Day. It spent a day painting plant pots and potting them up with vibrant pansies and other flowers before distributing them to local nursing homes, bringing nature’s colors inside for people who could not go outside as freely as they would like. Again, the event not only strengthened the bond between those in the team, but also with those living within the community.

The pandemic may have kept people apart, but it has highlighted the importance of connections between us all and the natural world around us. The lessons learnt and experiences shared during the last year will only strengthen what we do and the respect for the people and natural world that enable us to do we what we do.

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