PEABODY – Farmers were supporting the arts on Saturday morning as community leaders Marilyn Jones, Susan Mayo and Faie Frederickson were out on Main Street giving away the beginnings of pot gardens in front of the historic Sunflower Theater.
The women will be handing out tubs and sunflower seeds again on Saturday, April 3 at 10 a.m. in front of the theater on Main Street.
Jones has been coordinating with local farmers to help recycle cattle mineral tubs and turn them into pot gardens.
In honor of the Year of the Sunflower, and the Sunflower Theater, Jones was handing out packets of sunflower seeds to be planted in the large tubs. Hundreds of dollars worth of seeds were donated by rural Hesston farmer Jim Graber, who plants them as a cover crop.
“They’re perfectly edible,” said Jones, who feeds sunflower seeds to a flock of cardinals on her farmstead.
Jones said she was “tired of seeing [the tubs] blowing around the countryside” and wanted to put the plastic containers to practical use.
Jones has collected dozens of tubs and drilled drainage holes to create ideal containers for pot gardens.
“We don’t have a wide color variety, but they’re free,” she said. Jones brought her own tub, planted with the herb of the year, parsley, to the Saturday morning event. She said four one-gallon milk jugs in the bottom of the pot and a large bag of potting soil was all one needed for a raised garden. She also painted the side of her tub with a bright yellow sunflower.
Susan Mayo represented the progress of the Sunflower Theater project. She said having a community building event in front of the theater, and with the doors open for residents to take a peek at the work and vision of the theater – is an opportunity to put the arts front and center.
“We are interested in beautifying Peabody in any way we can. I think it’s a way to support the community, and that’s what the theater is all about,” she said.
Former Peabody counselor Frederickson has lived in Peabody over 50 years, and is excited to see the arts returning to the community.
“We need the arts. We have a gym. We have a library. We have no stage. We need this; we need to celebrate it,” she said.
Frederickson said seeing a wide range of community members, from youth with colorfully dyed hair to older farmers, coming together for a common cause was sending a powerful message about Peabody.
“We’re helping dreams. We need cellists; we need more teachers. We need more peacemakers, and the arts are peace,” she said.
Frederickson added, with the theater’s revitalization, as well as the community investment in beautification projects, “I believe in the city blooming again. Small towns go through hard times, but I think it’s our time again.”