By: Bryant Lopez, Follow South Jersey Intern
ELMER, N.J. – Many people were off to the races at the Appel Farm Art & Music Center’s second annual Healthy Hearts Festival held on Nov. 4.
Along with a 5K race and one-mile walk, there were many activities for people to do after running or watching the race with many vendors around the center.
All of the proceeds will go to Appel Farm’s art programming to fund many of its programs for children. Appel Farm was first a chicken farm owned by Albert and Clare Appel in 1960 but transitioned the farm into a non-profit, charitable, and educational organization.
They run several programs including Arts Lab for Kids, Sips Series for Adults, and Family Weekend Arts Retreat. In the summer they host a summer arts camp for ages 8-16.
Jessica Doheny is the executive director at Appel Farms.
“One of the things that we recognize about our work and value as being important is that even though we are an art and music center, and it is certainly art-focused,” said Doheny. “Our approach to art-making is really about health and wellness.”
Doheny states that it isn’t about the end of the result of the painting or song but the process of how a person approaches the work.
“We really believe that making art helps support community development and community building and social-emotional learning and self-expression and all these really positive things,” said Doheny. “And in addition to that, we feel that you can find art in a lot of different things that aren’t necessarily traditional art.”
Doheny also raced in the 5K race.
“It was great. I started running maybe just before the pandemic, so within the last five years,” said Doheny. “It really became, for me again, this is healing, you know, exercise for me is a, is a very good way for me to focus my mind.”
One of the vendors was Angie’s Vietnamese Cuisine, a mobile popup, vendor, and caterer. They have been serving food for three years with the owner being Lynn Pham. Pham states that she named the popup Angie’s after her friend Angley Cintron. Pham states that Angie’s currently does 20 pop-ups a month.
“We do like Vietnamese and Asian fusion,” said Pham. “So we do have some like nachos. We do boa buns, which is a traditionally Vietnamese [food], but we have fun with it. Everyone seems to enjoy it. Next season we’re trying to move towards a more traditional menu.”
Angie’s has a very diverse menu that contains boa bun, bahn mi, nachos, skewer, tofu bites, spring rolls, and dumplings. Angie’s also provides vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for customers.
“I think most Asian cuisine, especially Vietnamese, it’s very heavy on pork and shrimp and if you don’t eat either of those then you know your choices are quite limited,” said Pham.
There were wellness-focused vendors as well with Hands to Hooves Healing and Awakened Spirit being at the festival.
Hands to Hooves Healing started to use a PEMF machine, animal reiki, and red light therapy on an equine massage. The owner of Hands to Hooves Healing is Jacqueline Ireland, a certified holistic practitioner. She started her practice on horses but states that Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) is beneficial for people as well.
“What it does is it uses the earth’s magnetic force through the machine and the loops on different parts of your body. It’ll detox your body on a cellular level,” said Ireland.
PEMF was approved by the FDA in 1979 and is used as a treatment to heal nonunions of bones, the failure of a broken bone to heal properly, and for conditions like osteoporosis. Seventy-two percent of U.S. hospitals use the device, according to the National Library of Medicine (NIH).
Ireland was first introduced to PEMF about a year and a half ago as she had medical issues such as hyperrheumatoid arthritis.
“When I started looking for holistic ways to heal my own self, then I learned about PMF, I learned about reiki, I learned about different types of holistic healing,” said Ireland. “And that’s how I got into utilizing the PMF. And then I just wanted to share it with everybody and I wanted to help heal animals as well.”
Awakened Spirit is a holistic healing and wellness business, owned by Sarah Rickert, a reiki master practitioner and certified yoga instructor. Rickert stated that she does reiki energy healing, kundalini yoga, and oracle reading. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation according to the International Center for Reiki Training. Kundalini yoga is yoga that activates your kundalini, an energy that lies within the body at the navel or the base of the spine.
“It helps with mind, body, and soul,” said Rickert. “It’s all-around good for your health. Your spine is the most important thing in your body. It has so many nerves. It’s associated with all of your organs, your brain, and everything in your entire body. And yoga is all focused on the spine. So the more relaxed and open your spine is, the more you’re able to get through things in life mentally, emotionally, and physically. So I think everything starts with the stability of your spine. It’s very important.”
Rickert started at a massage school in 2018 and it helped spark interest in other healing methods.
“Reiki is a non-invasive therapy,” said Rickert. “You lie on a massage table, you just lie down and relax. You set an intention for what you want to heal. It could be to relieve stress, it could be to heal a certain pain that you’re feeling in your body. It could help with all the different things. So pretty much it’s all about intention. And I guide you through a breathwork meditation and it’s a hands-free healing and the energy transfers from me to you to help heal you.”
Inspira sponsored the event with the community impact coordinator for Inspira Kathy Shumate bringing awareness for all types of issues for the community. Shumate showcased drug deactivation packets.
“A lot of people want to flush them or just throw them in through the trash,” said Shumate. “The charcoal-activated system actually deactivates the medications. “It’s easy at home, at home disposal for leftover medications.”
Shumate states the issues with throwing or flushing medications.
“Number one, it’s a huge environmental problem,” said Shumate. “If you’re flushing medications in the toilet, it’s essentially going into our ecosystem. It’s going into the environment. We don’t want that to happen. And if we’re putting it in our trash cans, we know there’s dumpster divers out there, right? People that are really, have addictions and whatnot, they’ll go through anything to see what they can find. So disposing of them just in your regular trash is also unsafe for everyone.”
Shumate spoke about the event and being a part of many community events.
“It’s wonderful that we have a lot of community events now, especially after Covid,” said Shumate. “The world kind of shut down there for a couple of years. And more and more now it’s becoming more and more important for us to get out into the communities.”
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