- Last Updated on 07:37 AM 04/11/14
- BY Ashley Hodge
Springtime is upon us, and Marsha Layne of Nathalie wants to collect resources and manpower to grow a community garden on her land as soon as possible to provide healthy crops for those who struggle financially.
Layne, a Halifax County High School and Liberty University graduate, has had a burdened heart for those in need ever since she worked as a therapist in Durham, N.C.
With her colleagues, she would go into homes that sometimes had five to six children who were being cared for by a mother with a medical condition.
“Sometimes these kids did not have a single toy, and I could tell they did not have a lot of food,” said Layne. “I thought to myself, people should not have to live like this.”
Ever since she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, Layne has been a stay-at-home mom living on her three-acres of land with her three children.
Much of her time is spent in her own garden with her children, where she grows a few vegetables but mostly herbs and spices for teas and aromatherapy.
“I believe that people need to eat more organic food because it’s not just me with an autoimmune disease. I know many people who have related diseases, and I believe they come from people eating too many processed foods,” said Layne. “And I believe they need to go to more organic food with no pesticides, chemicals or preservatives.”
One evening recently, Layne sat in her yard as she looked out onto her stretch of field thinking, “We have all this land, and there are so many people who need more access to organic, healthy food.”
Next thing she knew, she was thinking of how she needed to reach out to the community to get volunteers to help plant a community garden.
She hopes to use an acre of her land to grow vegetables to give to those who need it.
“Prices are so high, and wages are not so good. And there are so many resources to help people, this could really be a good thing,” said Layne.
Her family plans to help as much as they can to start the garden, but they know they can’t do it alone.
Volunteers are needed to help plow it, disc it, donate seeds, plant seeds and work in the garden.
Most importantly, Layne said she needs a tractor.
“I am even willing to donate money for gas for the tractor,” said Layne.
Rather than donating money, she would like community members to donate garden supplies, seeds or manpower. As of now, she has had one woman say she would donate sweet potatoes, but that’s it so far.
“I hope that anyone would help. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything to donate or not. As long as you have an able body, come out and help, even if it’s for half an hour. Maybe we can start something that will grow into something bigger. If so many people come out and give a half hour of their time, it adds up and helps equal something,” said Layne.
All ages are encouraged to help. Layne’s children will accompany any young ones, and she feels it could be a good experience for other children to learn about gardens.
“Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, churches, sports teams, any organization, landscapers or businesses are encouraged to donate or help in the garden,” said Layne.
Being that she wants to keep the garden as organic as possible, she also encourages anyone who would like to educate others on organic food to come to the garden.
Even though she lives in Nathalie, Layne hopes this garden will have a greater impact than just affecting residents in the northern end of the county.
“Maybe if this thing really takes off, others in the community will decide to create their own garden in their community,” said Layne.
Finding help to get started as soon as possible is the only obstacle standing in her way.
“We are kind of on a short time table to get started. We need to get it moving as soon as possible,” said Layne.
Once the garden has sprouted, those who need the vegetables can either pick them up at the garden or at the food pantry on Tobacco Road in Nathalie. She also hopes to have volunteers interested in delivering food to those who are unable to drive.
For those interested in helping, Layne said she has a flexible schedule and will work with everyone to see what times people can come to the garden.
Interested persons also can join Layne’s Facebook group, Seeds of Love.