Resident hopes community garden concept flourishes

Jun 13, 2022

MARION — Barbie Burr has a goal that she hopes will bear fruit: A vegetable garden that would be available to everyone in town. 

She is part of a group that hopes to create an organic community vegetable garden in Marion.

As she sat in her own garden, complete with a frog pond, water fountains and comfortable seating, she spoke of the joy and peace that gardens can bring.

“You can see a whole universe in a garden,” she said. “The interdependence of all the organisms that make it possible. You feel that animated hum. It’s nature, it’s science.”

She wants to share that enthusiasm by bringing together gardeners of all skill levels to plant their crops on a portion of one larger piece of land. 

The first phase of the plan involves finding a suitable plot of land in Marion. This space would require ample sun, access to adequate water supplies and sturdy fencing to keep out deer, woodchucks, raccoons, skunks and other creatures that can turn a gardener’s bounty into their next meal.

Finding someone who can design this area to maximize its potential is a vital step, Burr said. “We’re really looking for a technical expert to say, ‘Yes, this is a great spot.’’

She envisions a garden area with features that would “delight” gardeners, including a frog pond, sun dial, weather station, insect houses and wildflowers for pollinators.

Water elements, such as rain collection, solar, wind and manual pumps, and elevated tanks with gravity feed, could also be part of these gardens.  “Everybody likes water features,” she said.

These gardens would include plots that would be rented and cared for by individuals. She compared the rental plot concept to a feature quite familiar to many Marion residents, moorings.

Although each plot would be individually owned, she does not rule out the bounty being shared. 

“Gardeners always have too much,”” she said. “They’re always looking for people to take” the extra produce. 

Beyond sharing produce, gardeners in this project can also exchange advice to help each other’s plot of land flourish, she said. 

“We hope the community garden will light a lamp of learning,” Burr said, that will help more people become interested in “raising food.”

As the project begins to take root, she encourages successful vegetable gardeners to come forward and discuss what works and what doesn’t.   

An executive committee is being formed to develop a concept and a design. She hopes to see participation among the community.

Anyone interested is asked to email