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Marion Mavericks cultivate hope

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

“I’m really excited,” said Nola Wilson, small farms extension agent for the Marion County Extension Service. She is thrilled that the newly-formed Marion Mavericks have decided to take on the ambitious task of creating a community victory garden at the Marion County owned- 4-H Farm property.

“I’m so glad that we have a community group willing to organize and oversee this,” Wilson said. Having a public garden in the present tough economic times is a “very positive thing.”

Anita Frauenshuh, who hosted a recent Marion Mavericks meeting at her Oak Run home with her husband, Tom, said the goal of the group is to grow fruits and vegetables for the community’s needy, unemployed and homeless.

Marion County will allow the organization to use a portion of its 45-acre farm. To help the group get started, the county will assist with getting the garden going.

They will set the Mavericks up with Master Gardeners, who will help to mentor the volunteers. Wilson said the group would also be taught how to plant in stages, so the crops will not all ripen at one time.

Though still in the groundbreaking stages of the project, Frauenshuh said they hope to have groups like the Boy Scouts of America and church youth groups participate in planting and growing of fresh crops. The various volunteer organizations will be asked to “adopt a row” and will be able to choose what type of crop they want to grow.

Once the food is ready to be harvested, it will be taken to the Salvation Army and Interfaith Emergency Services for them to distribute to the public.

In addition to asking for volunteers, the Marion Mavericks have also been enlisting the help of area businesses and organizations to help fund the garden. Seminole Feed has agreed to donate the fruit and vegetable seeds for the project.

Idea Sprouted at a Meeting

The Marion Mavericks was formed during a Marions for Peace victory party at Delphine Herbert’s house after Barack Obama was elected to the presidency. His local supporters decided they wanted to do something for the community.

Frauenshuh said her husband suggested the idea of a victory garden. During WW II, President Franklin Roosevelt suggested that the America people plant their own vegetables. “Tom was thinking of that,” she said, when he came up with idea for the garden.

In the future, the Marion Mavericks hope to create jobs, have a cannery to preserve some food that will be received by various food banks and to inspire others to become more self-sufficient.

In March, the Mavericks plan to have a groundbreaking picnic at the 4-H Farm, as a kick off celebration to the victory garden. To volunteer for the project, call Anita at 854-2869.