Marla Hawkins


Current place of residence

Durham, NC


What is your current occupation/work?

Educator. Currently employed with Wake County Schools as a Literacy Teacher teaching Language Arts to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students diagnosed with learning disabilities. I also write and do poetry readings, create visual art and do art workshops.


When and where did you work with Maurice?

2013, Raleigh, NC


For how long did you work with Maurice?

One Summer for approximately two months


What kind of work did you do when you worked with Maurice?

Community farm/ garden hands-on work


What kind of growth/transformation happened for you (and/or for the people you served) because of your work with Maurice?

During my summer on the farm I experienced a therapeutic healing and awakening of sorts. After a two year grieving and dramatic life transition, for the first time, I experienced an understanding of our physical and spiritual connection to earth, to dirt. I expanded my understanding of what I was physically capable of. Finally, I came away with a permanent awakening and interest in what is behind the food we eat and how it affects us and the environment. And a new appreciation of worms...from a distance.


How has working with Maurice benefitted you and/or uplifted you?

Maurice provided an example to me of consistent and persistent focus and dedication to one's life purpose.


What would you say to someone who is interested in working with Maurice in the future?

Be ready to work hard physically and be serious and dedicated mentally. Be ready to learn, grow, be challenged personally. Be ready to contribute your ideas, skills and talents and have them valued.


Memories and Stories

My experience working with Maurice made such an impact on me that I wrote a poem at the end of that summer to capture it. Below:

Ode to an Urban Farm

Working at the urban farm this summer was the best therapy Ive had yet
Something about shoveling dirt, pulling weeds,
hands in soil and planting seeds
meditation in the midday sun - 95 degrees
Feeling sweat wash the toxins from my soul
grounding me, connecting me to earth, God, and ancestors in my genetic memory
me and girl power from A&T chopping down trees
laughing at brothers running from bees
I heard that we need to understand that growing our food
will one day mean our survival
from a man who looks and acts like he knows
I got muscles, vegetables and clarity
at the South East Raleigh farm where serenity grows

Written by Marla Hawkins, 2013


A Few Words…

The education that Maurice provides to both established community members and the next generations about the power of controlling what you eat is invaluable and critical.