By Rita Cook

What could be a better gift for a young girl than learning about the earth with the help of what is called the Miss Marcy Doll currently being sold for the holidays at the Promise of Peace (POP) Community Garden in East Dallas and at the garden’s website at  Promise of Peace Community Garden Director Elizabeth Dry says the hand-stitched Miss Marcy Doll is made by Dallas residents on a fixed income.  (Elizabeth Dry - Photo: Phillip Shinoda)

“The dolls are made out of repurposed materials and lots of love,” Dry says.  “In fact, the materials are repurposed from years of saving scrap material. Miss Carol of Little Forest Hills has created the first 20 Miss Marcy dolls complete with a hidden heart and we hope to generate sewing circles of folks to "Sew to Grow" City Kids building City Gardens across Dallas.”

The “Sew to Grow” idea will also take the garden into its spring activities as part of the spring kids camp and POP Garden planners also plan to build a garden at CC Young retirement Center in collaboration with Hotel Palomar in 2013 as well.

It was the author of “City Green,” in which Miss Marcy is the main character who transforms a vacant lot into a garden, DyAnne Disalvo who first came up with the Miss Marcy idea.  From there the first doll was made from the repurposed materials and the $30 sell of each doll goes to both the seamstress and the garden.

“When you purchase the doll as a gift,” Dry explains “it inspires the recipient to dream of making something better in the community.”  The Miss Marcy doll comes with a City Green book and a package of sunflower seeds and there are also seed packets that have been harvested specifically from the Promise of Peace Garden.  Each doll has the main characteristics of Miss Marcy, but since the dolls are all handmade no two dolls are alike with the exception of the hair, red glasses and a cheek-to-cheek smile. (Book photo:  Harpers Collins)

          (Miss Marcy photos: promise of peace)

“The uniqueness is the depth of representation behind the dolls,” Dry adds. “City Green actually inspired the POP Garden to come to a reality as the storybook playhouses, that are now at the garden.”  The author of the book also visited the garden last year during Eco-fest spurring the idea, Dry says and it was from there that she realized there were community members locally who had talent that was not being utilized.  

“It just made sense to transform the vacant lot into a garden and raise money for the seamstresses while also giving back to the community,” Dry explains.
“The dolls represent transformation and are an example of permaculture,” she continues. “That means neighbors helping neighbors and the story is one that is being told across our country as we see the need to get closer and to live a more sustainable life.”

The Miss Marcy Dolls are on sale now and can also be found at the upcoming event at Good Friends on December 27 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and after the holidays at the January 5, 2013 Promise of Peace Garden Brunch and Art Fair.

The Promise of Peace (POP) Community Garden is a non-profit seeking solutions for increasing high school completion rates and healthy life styles as a result of positive community engagement. POP’s goal is also to connect the groups of neighborhoods in East Dallas through horticultural, environmental and nutritional educational experiences.

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Rita Cook is an award winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.  With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press.  You can contact her at