Mark Storey always has a Plan B for celebrating World Naked Gardening Day on May 1 in Seattle, where precipitation is always possible.
The Bellevue College philosophy professor, lifelong naturist and co-founder of the global movement in its 17th year will be potting plants au naturel with his wife in their garage should it rain on Saturday.
Which, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle, is almost certain.
The folks who put together a recent list on the nation’s best cities for World Naked Gardening Day ranked Seattle third after Miami and Austin. They took into account temperatures; they didn’t factor in rain.
But that’s OK, Storey said. The day was chosen because spring is a gardener’s most important season and because people can enjoy the bliss of having their hands in the dirt even while nude inside.
For this year’s list of Best Cities for Naked Gardening, LawnStarter compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities across nine key metrics including the nudist population, the legality of nudity and the interest in nudity as well as the number of sex offenders per 100,000 residents.
World Naked Gardening Day started in 2005, when Storey and a friend were talking about a new project. It’s now celebrated all over the world, though some regions, like Canada, New Zealand and Australia, have chosen another day for their nude escapades.
The year previous to the start of Naked Gardening day, Storey and his friend had become involved in the World Naked Bike Ride, with Seattle being the first U.S. city to hold one. The problem with bicycle riding in Seattle, naked or not, is that “a lot of people couldn’t ride a bike all day; it wasn’t something they could physically do. These things go 24 miles, up and down hills.
“We asked people what things they’d like to do naked and swimming was number one and gardening came in second,” he said.
Gardening has a timeless quality, and anyone can do it: young and old, singles or groups, the fit and infirm, urban and rural, he said.
“We envisioned an old lady in her kitchen potting plants while naked and experiencing what that feels like, people weeding their local parks and groups maintaining trails,” Storey said this week.
There is a real benefit for people to being au naturel in the natural world, he said.
“Being naked in a nonsexual way with other people and naked with nature de-alienates us and breaks down barriers. We see each other as we really are, we break down barriers and form connections,” he said.
Also, he said, it plain feels excellent to run around naked.