Austin & Toni ~ Ohio
They may be young, but the brother and sister duo of Austin and Toni Carr, ages 8 and 10
respectively, are learning how to grow vegetables. Students at Amanda Clearcreek Elementary school
in rural Ohio, they began their garden two years ago after their parents heard about Katie’s Krops on
the P. Allen Smith gardening show on PBS. The siblings have grown 185 pounds of tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, green beans, and cucumbers in their 16 by 16 foot in-ground garden. The carrots they attempted did not produce, but the flowers they grow thrive,
aiding in pollination while providing beauty.
After their Dad tills the garden in the spring, Toni and Austin are responsible for planting, weeding, and
harvesting. They have had some adversity, especially this year when a wet spring was followed by a sweltering and dry summer, both of which hurt the garden. They also have to
contend with pests, such as birds and rabbits, who are more than willing to eat the produce, which is
one reason the carrots don’t do well.
The two chickens left from the original flock of 10 (blame the coyotes and stray cats) provide
droppings for composting the garden, eggs for the family, and lessons on how to care for chickens to
Toni and Austin.
Both enjoy working in the garden. Austin likes chasing mom with the worms, although he moves
the toads from the garden rather than running with them. Toni enjoys bonding with her family and says
gardening is a fun hobby where she gets to be active. Mom Ashley is happy to have a summer activity
that gets the kids outside and off their tablets. The entire family is glad they can provide fresh
produce to their neighbors and the food pantries in Amanda and nearby Stoutsville. Their goal is
to eventually raise enough so that they can put a farm stand outside their home where everyone in their small community can stop by and take what they need for free.
While no one outside the family helps with the garden, Toni has talked to her friends about what they
do and shares vegetables with them. She is hoping they will get their own Katie’s Krops gardens so they can also help the community while they learn about gardening.