year 2, week 35: this week i'm gonna... grow a garden
This story begins with a 9-year-old girl and a 40 pound cabbage. Katie Stagliano founded this week's featured organization, Katie's Krops, when she was in third grade. Here is her story in her own words:
"My name is Katie Stagliano, I am now 18 years old and here is the story of how Katie’s Krops began. I received a cabbage seedling from a third grade program with Bonnie Plants in 2008. I planted my seedling in the garden in the corner of my house. Every day I would come out with the watering can and water it. I would fertilize the cabbage and weed around it. My family and I watched it grow massively in size. When my cabbage was fully grown, it weighed in at an amazing 40 pounds!
"I knew my cabbage was special and it needed to find a special home. My mom contacted Fields to Families, a local organization that helps farmers get crops to organizations that feed the hungry, to see where I could donate my cabbage. They recommended we give my cabbage to Tri County Family Ministries, a local soup kitchen.
"In May of 2008, we brought my cabbage to Tri County Family Ministries. When I walked in, I saw a huge line of people waiting for what might be the only meal they would have that day. The people who worked there and who were eating there were so friendly and nice. As I served my cabbage to the guests and they thanked me for helping to feed them, I knew I could and I should do more to help.
"That day at Tri County Family Ministries my dream was born. My dream is that there are no hungry people. I want more people to get involved, more people to help in the fight against hunger. Growing vegetables is fun and it is so great to help people. If I can do it, anyone can. It doesn’t take a huge garden, just a pot on your front porch with one vegetable plant can make a difference."
The mission of Katie's Krops is to empower youth to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes and to donate the harvest to help feed people in need, while also assisting and inspiring others to do the same. Katie's Krops has 100 gardens growing across the country and has donated thousands and thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need.
To learn more about Katie's Krops, please check out the video below:
For the past six years, dinners have become an integral part of the Katie's Krops program. The concept is simple: youth volunteers grow vegetable gardens where the whole harvest is donated to feed people in need. Once a month, under the volunteer direction of a head chef, youth volunteers gather their harvest and prepare a healthy meal for anyone in need. The menu is based on the harvest in the gardens, and what they cannot grow they purchase.
In 2016, a single group of youth volunteers in Katie's hometown devoted 628 hours preparing and serving 2,347 meals at 12 dinners. The guests of the dinners were families in the community battling food insecurity, homelessness, life-altering medical diagnosis, unemployment, and/or those who needed additional support at the end of the month as food stamps ran out.
“(I’ve) learned not to stereotype,” Katie states. “They can be your friends and neighbors, or people who have just gotten down on hard times... people who are struggling to put food on their tables each night.”
This fall, Katie heads off to the College of Charleston to study communications. “I will definitely continue with Katie’s Krops... and make sure to come back for garden work days (and dinners),” she says.
Katie says her work with Katie's Krops has kept her empowered and focused on her goals. She has also realized the vast scope of hunger and the number of lives it affects.
Katie may be heading off to college, but she still has goals and dreams for her program. “My vision is to have at least one garden in all 50 states, and then I’d love to start Katie’s Krops internationally,” she states. “I know when you put all our growers together -- no matter how large or small their efforts -- we’re making a huge impact.”
Notes for this week:
- September is Hunger Action Month!
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor a Katie's Krops Garden for an entire year.
- For more information on Katie's Krops, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Katie's Krops.