Every now and again in life, you meet someone who just cracks open your heart and inspires you from the inside out. Award-winning urban gardener, farmer, community activist, and cook extraordinaire Karen Washington is one of these people. I feel so lucky that I got to spend a morning with her in the Garden of Happiness, the community garden she co-founded 30 years ago in her neighborhood in the Bronx after she happened to move into a house that was sitting directly across the street from an abandoned lot. Over the years, she helped transform that derelict lot from a concrete slab littered with garbage, into a lush, green, vibrant, and welcoming community space, home now to over 20 family garden plots, several fruits trees, and a couple of greenhouses. And yes, you really do feel an instant sense of peace and happiness there. It’s an oasis of calm in the city.