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Black History Month Highlights: Marissa

It was a warm, sunny day as I walked up Marissa’s driveway, nervous but ready to interview someone in their home for the very first time. I stopped to take pictures of the potted plants in her driveway while she unloaded her baby for a playdate inside the house. As she took me to her backyard to show me her garden, she explained all her plans for future growing spaces including a trellis for loofahs and a rainbow flower bed to show support as an ally for PRIDE month later this year. Marissa is the first one in her family in recent memory to garden, saying she took it up as a hobby since she retired from the Air Force and had more free time. She gave me a tour of her raised bed, showing me where the lavender she grew from seed (an incredible feat!) was growing and where brussels were sprouting along a stalk. Then she tells me a story of how she grew tomatoes and then gave some away to a neighbor who, in turn, made salsa and shared with Marissa-completing the age old stories of garden to table and neighbors sharing with neighbors. Soon Marissa’s young son joins us out on the patio for pictures and to help mom harvest some swiss chard and parsley. She carefully clips leaves from each plant and hands them to her son. He tells us “lettuce is yum!” in a confident voice while holding a bouquet of fresh cut lettuce leaves as if to say “here's the proof!” Marissa’s garden tells the story of so many young families new to San Antonio: She was stationed here, fell in love here, and decided to literally and figuratively set down roots here. Marissa’s family has built a home here and now the food and flowers she grows in her garden grow alongside and nourish her children. Thank you so much to Marissa for allowing us into your garden to celebrate Black History Month! You can see more photos from Marissa's garden on our Instagram @RootsofChange and you can follow Marissa on tiktok @MRissa and Instagram @m_r_merced


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