Two hands, one with a double strand of white pearls, hold open a green pea pod.

Oral History: Marilyn Stout

Marilyn Stout Introduction

Marilyn Stout was born in the 1950’s on the British Virgin Island of Saint Thomas, but was raised on Tortola. One of six sisters from an economically distressed family, Marilyn was raised by her grandmother, a baker and a midwife, and her grandfather, a farmer who spent time working in the Dominican Republic sugarcane industry. Her early food memories include pea soup, coconut bread, mango, sugar apple, guineps, tamarind, soursop, and chickens the family raised. In May 1959, the family moved to NYC, exposing Marylin to foods and cultures, from Puerto Rican to Italian and African American. As an adult, she became involved in gardening at her neighborhood Bissel Gardens, and after moving to Co-Op City in 2017, Marilyn discovered Rivers Run Community Garden, a once-vacant waterfront property transformed by multicultural volunteers into a beautiful space where locals gather to foster the community’s growth. Since then, she has been actively engaged in their neighborhood programs, and in growing pumpkin, tomatoes, turmeric, sorrel, and cilantro in her own garden box. Gardening has taught her to eat healthier, as she now sees where her food comes from.

Interview Date: July 22, 2021

Profession: Gardener and Homemaker

Birthplace: St. Thomas, British Virgin Islands

Head shot of Marilyn Stout

Marilyn Stout

Full Length Video