April 16, 2020

Susie Marvin: Wasatch Community Gardens

Susie, left, joined by Bermuda visitors in freezing cold weather Susie, left, joined by Bermuda visitors in freezing cold weather

As the Seeds of Success Program Director, Ms. Susie Marvin oversees Wasatch Community Gardens’ initiatives in partnership with Climb Wyoming. Ms. Marvin grew up in Northern Michigan and realized how gardening and agriculture brings people together as she spent her summer days helping out at her family’s garden center. Her greatest joy comes from helping others realize their full potential through community and she is excited to continue learning and growing alongside program participants.

Wasatch Community Gardens has served Wasatch Front residents since 1989 with the belief that the quality of a community is directly related to the quality of its food. They offer garden space, educational programs, and community events to empower people to grow, harvest, preserve, and prepare fresh, healthy food. The Gardens welcomed our international visitors from Bermuda as part of our Transformational Living Facilities for Women program in December 2019.

Q1: Do you feel you/your organization had an impact on the group? If so, what do you think that impact was?

Our organization had the opportunity to talk with the group about the farm-based job training program we run for both women facing homelessness and single mothers living in poverty. We were surprised to learn, through the course of the conversation, that the group is beginning work on a center for single moms to provide housing, training, and wrap-around services. We were able to share with the group some of our challenges in working with this population as well as our triumphs. They were interested in our partnerships, something our organization does very well, and also in the process of beginning a greenhouse and farm, as agriculture is one of the areas the Bermuda team is considering for an element of their own program. Our farm is a unique place and we enjoyed welcoming our international visitors!

Q2: Can you tell me about your experience with the visitors? What changed your perception or brought awareness to their culture?

As I mentioned, our team enjoyed hearing about some of the similarities the Bermuda team faces in serving single mothers. While we are from vastly different parts of the world, many of the same challenges and goals exist. Our teams are both committed to serving women in need of support and we both look for creative solutions to do so.

Q3: How did the visitors impact you/your organization?

A nice impact of hosting the visitors on the farm was that it allowed three of our program participants (women previously facing homelessness and employed on the farm) to share their stories and expertise. This is such a shift for these women - to sit around a table with international professionals and to have a voice in the conversation is truly empowering. I enjoyed watching these women share stories and the pride that they have for the farm and their successes.