Staff ~ Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Marley is the Manager of Auburn’s Community Garden. The garden has been around in various guises for many years, but under the management of Campus Dining and Marley’s expert oversight, the garden has evolved into a whole new thing.
The garden offers plots where faculty, students, and community members can grow their own food. The garden includes plots that grow crops that get sold to local restaurants, and twenty additional plots grow food that is donated to the East Alabama Food Bank and Auburn’s Campus Kitchen, the award-winning student organization that provides meals to the food insecure. The garden has generated more than 1,500 pounds of produce for the Food Bank, Campus Kitchens, and the Campus Food Pantry.
Marley views the garden as an educational venue. She is the pied piper of community gardening, preaching the gospel of sustainability, health and wellness, and gardening for self-sufficiency. It is an outdoor classroom where children, students, and adults learn about gardening and how to do it themselves.
Marley enriches educational events by including speakers from Cooperative Extension, local Master Gardeners, and visiting experts. She also organizes weekly volunteer days for the maintenance and upkeep of the garden.
As a systems thinker, Marley sees all the interwoven ways the Community Garden contributes to our community’s wellbeing. Growing fresh food locally and spending time in nature while engaging in physical activity yield an abundance of fruit. In addition to food for gardeners and those in need, the Community Garden grows empowerment, new learning, cultural exchanges, and a deepening sense of community.
All of these things are happening because of Marley’s passionate dedication. Her loving care and effort cause everything about the community garden to flourish.