Katie’s Krops celebrated ten years of growing a healthy end to hunger inMay of 2018. Ten years have passed since our Founder Katie planted a tiny cabbage seedling that would begin her dream to end hunger one vegetable garden at a time.
Katie’s Krops currently maintains 100 gardens growing across the UnitedStates. In 2018, our Growers have donated over 38,342 pounds of produce to emergency food programs, cancer centers and directly to families in need.
In May our Founder, Katie, received one of the great American Gardener awards from the American Horticulture Society. The Jane L. Taylor award was presented to Katie on George Washington’s River Farm. The award is given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children and youth gardening.
In May, as Katie celebrated ten years of Katie’s Krops at TriCounty FamilyMinistries where she first donated her forty-pound cabbage, she learned that she was the grand prize winner of the very first General Mills FeedingBetter Futures Scholar Program. In addition to winning $50,000 Katie had the honor of attending the Aspen Idea Festival and sharing her dream to end hunger, one vegetable garden at a time.
Katie is in her second year at College of Charleston where she is on the Dean’s List.
The Katie’s Krops flagship garden continues to grow and thrive. This year volunteers, youth, military, senior citizens and adults have dedicated over 1,150 hours to growing the garden. The harvest from this garden is donated to food banks, cancer centers, directly to families in need and to the Katie’s Krops Dinners. In 2018, 2,223 meals have been prepared and served during the Katie’s Krops dinners at a cost of .58 cents per meal engaging youth in 475. 3 service hours feeding those in need in our community. 172 adult service hours were spent serving the meals. In addition to a healthy free meal, our young volunteers have also provided school supplies, books, clothing, Thanksgiving baskets, toys for the holiday season and groceries to guests of our dinners to help them through challenging times.
Also located in Summerville, South Carolina the Oak Christian SchoolKatie’s Krops Garden has been thriving in 2018. 144 students at the school participated in spring planting and many more worked to maintain the garden and harvest. They donated their harvest to Old Fort Baptist Church and to date in 2018 their garden has produced 485 pounds of produce and they are still growing! These students face many obstacles in previous growing seasons such as theft, deer, raccoons, and voles eating their harvest. They did not give up. They problem solved and worked to make their garden critter proof by trapping and relocating the raccoons. Their hard work and dedication has paid off. Their garden is not only a way to give back to their community, but it is a valuable teaching tool.
In Ohio, high school students at West Carrollton HighSchool are growing their garden at their school. Their impact has increased with every year that they have been growing with Katie’s Krops. In 2018 their PiratesPatch Katie’s Krops has produced 862 pounds of beautiful fruits and vegetables for St. Vincent de PaulHomeless Shelter. Their harvest has helped to feed 450residents at the shelter. Many of the students had never been exposed to a garden or agriculture prior to working in the garden.
Judi Brooks at the school shared, “We have a student who has helped over the summer with GREAT enthusiasm! She worked as many as 6hours at a time in the extreme heat! This opportunity gave her a purpose this summer as well as providing an awesome learning experience with and sense of belonging!”
In California, Joey is growing his Katie’s Krops Garden to support Shepherd’s Gate, a women’s shelter. Joey is providing the only source of fresh vegetables and fruit to Shepherd’s Gate. In 2018 from his backyard garden, he has supplied the shelter with 215 pounds of produce.
James in Oklahoma is having all his hard years of hard work pay off with 1,133 pounds of produce harvested from his garden in 2018. He has earned the honor of Most Improved Grower of 2018. He credits his success to learning from challenges he had in previous years such as preparing for the squash bugs by applying Neem oil before they destroyed the plants. He spoke with the BonniePlants representative and she suggested that he plant Park’s Whopper tomatoes because they are supposed to grow the best in his area – and they were! The experience he has gained by growing with Katie’s Krops for the past four years is paying off, proving our sustainability model is key in growing a healthy end to hunger. James shared, “I am gaining experience as I keep growing. That is the key to my success.”
In Florida, Megan is growing the first Katie’s Krops Garden in Orlando. Megan started volunteering with Katie’s Krops while she was in middle school. She quickly became one of our most reliable and dedicated volunteers. Megan has spent countless hours in our flagship garden growing and harvesting produce that is all donated to feed people in need. Megan’senthusiasm is contagious. She quickly became a core volunteer at our Katie’s KropsDinner is Summerville, South Carolina. The guests quickly became her friends, and she remains a key front of the house volunteer to this day.
The day Megan shared that she was called to do more with Katie’s Kropswas a day that brought us great joy. Katie’s Krops did not have a garden in the Orlando, Florida area. Megan knew firsthand how large the need was in the area and was called to start the very first Katie’s Krops garden there. She did great research, meeting with key officials from organizations that serve the community to learn how her Katie’s Krops garden could best serve the community. She met with a Master Gardener to glean the skills needed to be a successful gardener in the Orlando area. Megan went above and beyond to ensure success. Megan shares her harvest with the Orlando Rescue Mission.
In New York City, Katie’s Krops Gardens are thriving at four community centers. The gardens are in food deserts and the children who tend to the gardens come from underserved communities. WithoutKatie’s Krops, these children would not have an opportunity to learn how to grow and sustain a vegetable garden, how to eat healthy and to serve their community.
The director of St. John’s Recreation Center shared, “Giving is an enriching experience; the more you give and help lift your community up, the more you see in return. Some of these children are starting to take on leadership roles within their community, and that is something we want to nurture more.”
In Texas, sibling growers, Ian & Addison are continuing to look for new opportunities to address hunger issues in the Austin community. In addition to donating to the Central Texas Food Bank andPassion Missions Mobile Food Pantry, the duo have organized Katie’s Krops Pop-Up Farmers Markets where they donate produce to families living in food deserts and low-income communities. According to Ian, “The best part of hosting the farmers market is being able to see the difference we are making for people. The farm stand allows me to add dignity to the donation process and allows my volunteers to connect to the community and see where our donations go.”
Ian & Addison have developed strong community support including an amazing partnership with Austin Orchards. Austin Orchards have been donating their excess produce to Ian & Addison’s farm stands. Addison has been able to improve her skills of tending to and harvesting her fruit trees thanks to mentoring from the staff at Austin Orchards and she recently planted a strawberry patch, which will be ready for harvest in the spring.
This past year, Ian was recognized withRecognizeGood’s Legend Award and was honored by the Points of Light Foundation. Addison was named as a 2018 Stephen J. Brady Sodexo Stop Hunger Scholar with her $5,000 grant award benefitting Katie’s Krops.
We are extremely proud of our Growers and their efforts. They are improving the health of their communities, learning lifelong skills, taking on leadership roles and changing the world one vegetable garden at a time.
Our Growers report on their gardens using our private grower website. They are provided with educational tools and funding. In 2019 we look forward to sustaining our current Growers and expanding our growing family by adding new gardens. Educating our Growers will also be a top priority.
Thank you for your support!