This story starts with a single cabbage. But it wasn’t just any cabbage, however. It was a 40-pound cabbage, grown by a 9 year old girl named Katie Stagliano.
This young gardener donated that huge cabbage to her local soup kitchen, and it fed more than 275 people. Inspired by that experience, she started Katie’s Krops. The non-profit now has 100 gardens around the country, all grown by kids who are donating these healthy foods to feed the hungry in their communities.
Today, Katie is 17 years, but she’s still the youngest recipient of the University of California’s 30 Under 30 leaders in the food industry. (She was also the youngest recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award.) I had the pleasure of meeting Katie in my garden blogging work, and she was kind enough to allow me to interview her today for UC Food Observer.
Q) Congratulations on being named among University of California’s 30 Under 30. How does it feel to be called one of 30 young leaders making a difference in our food system?
Katie Stagliano: At 17 years old, it is an incredible honor to be named among the University of California’s 30 Under 30. If you would have asked me at nine years old, before I donated my cabbage to Tri County Family Ministries, what I imagined would grow from the donation of one cabbage, I could have never foreseen how much it would change my life.
I’m so blessed to be on this journey. I hope that by being named among 30 Under 30 it will show others that age is just a number, never an obstacle. You can do anything that you set your heart to.
Q) In 2015 there were 83 Katie’s Krops gardens growing across the United States. What are the current numbers for 2016? Did you ever expect the program would grow so quickly? Why do you think this program has grown to include so many gardens?
Katie Stagliano: I’m very proud to say in 2016 that Katie’s Krops has 100 youth run gardens growing in 32 states across the United States. I could have never imagined how big Katie’s Krops would become, and how many people we have been able to provide fresh produce to at no charge.
I wholeheartedly believe that if it were not for the incredible and supportive people I’ve met along the way, who have believed in me and my dream, Katie’s Krops would not be at the level it is today.
I have found amazing kids across the United States who are passionate about ending hunger in their communities. We’ve come together and created a family of Katie’s Krops Growers. Working together I believe we can grow a healthy end to hunger, one vegetable garden at a time.