40-pound cabbage inspires 9-year-old to reduce food insecurity in the United States

How Katie Stagliano founded non-profit Katie’s Krops

By: Laura Smith

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – 1 in 8 people in the United States struggles to put food on their plates. That’s according to the latest 2017 statistics released by the non-profit FeedingAmerica.org.

But, a South Carolina woman has been on a mission to lower that number, one garden at a time, since she was in elementary school.

Katie Stagliano proves that age is just a number and it’s never too early to achieve your dream.

“I started all of this when I was 9 years old.” Katie’s dream? To reduce food insecurity in the United States, and it’s a real and big problem.

40 million people live in a household that’s food insecure, including more than 12 million children.

So back in 2008, as a 3rd grader, Katie got to work in the garden.

Katie says “I brought my seedling home. I planted it in my back yard and it just kept growing and growing.”

And before she knew it, that seed turned into a cabbage checking in at a whopping 40 pounds.

“I was just blown away,” says Stagliano, “I didn’t even know cabbages could even grow to be that big and I was just like this is far too much food for my family and I to eat.”

It was at that moment that Katie knew exactly what she wanted to do with the cabbage. “I decided I wanted to donate my cabbage to a soup kitchen and help families who didn’t have enough to eat.” And that 40-pound cabbage fed 275 people. “That’s when I got the idea that would change my life forever.”

Katie’s dream, planted and from that, her non-profit Katie’s Krops was grown.

“Imagine how many people an entire garden could feed and that was the start of Katie’s Krops. It all kind of snowballed from there.”

Snowballed into her non-profit that now has 100 gardens growing in 31 states across the country, all run by youth between the 9 and 16, in their backyards, at schools, community centers, churches, and libraries.

In the Lowcountry of South Carolina, students at Oak Christian school are getting their hands dirty while giving back.

Cheron Bryant, the teacher who runs the garden there tells us “We’ve been a Katie’s Krops grower for about four years now” and continues, saying “In 2018 alone we grew over 500 pounds of fresh produce that we donated.”

“The kids love it, they love it,” Cheron says. “I can be walking in the hallway and they will be like when do we get to go to the garden again?”

And that garden has been transformed into an outdoor classroom.

“They find worms, they find lizards and frogs, and they get to see how their gardens are growing.” Cheron says the kids can’t get enough and are learning in the process. “I’ve had parents say how did you get my child to eat salad? How did you get them to eat lettuce? It’s because they planted it and harvested it, they got to touch and feel it.”

This is the amazing impact Katie’s Krops is having around the country. Katie tells us “It’s so important for kids to learn about gardening at an early age or how to be able to feed themselves, feed their neighbors.”

And Katie’s work and good deeds over the last 11 years have not gone unnoticed. She’s received national recognition, including from US food company General Mills.

In 2018, Katie’s Krops donated more than 40,000lbs of fresh produce to people in need.

And there are so many ways you can help her organization end hunger. You can start a garden or buy something off Katie’s Krop’s wish list, just head to KatiesKrops.com.

Oh, and if you’re curious. The 40-pound cabbage she grew in 2008 is still her biggest vegetable to date, and cabbages are still her favorite thing to grow.

2018 Katie’s Krops Impact Report

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.
http://www.feedingbetterfutures.com/

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!

Meet Katie Stagliano — Founder of Katie’s Krops and Grand Prize Winner of General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholar Program

Katie Stagliano received a tiny cabbage seedling in 3rd grade which changed her life. That seedling grew to be a 40lb cabbage, which Katie donated to a local soup kitchen called Tri-County Family Ministries.

“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,” said Katie. “My one cabbage helped to feed 275 people. After seeing how many people my one cabbage helped to feed, I thought how many people can a garden feed? And that was the inspiration for me to start Katie’s Krops.”

Katie’s Krops empowers kids to create vegetable gardens in their communities. The food grown in the gardens is then donated to shelters and people in need. Katie started Katie’s Krops in May 2008 when she was only nine, but she already understood how the issue of hunger impacts many families around the United States.

“Hunger can affect anyone: your neighbor, your classmates, your friends. Many people/families are just one paycheck away from not being able to put food on their dinner table. 1 in 6 people in America face hunger. Fresh produce should not be a luxury, it should be a staple in every household.”

Read the source article

Meet our Grand Prize Winner: Katie Stagliano!

 

Katie’s Krops empowers kids across the country to grow fresh produce locally to fight hunger in communities. What’s next? Katie is headed to Aspen Ideas Festival in a few weeks where she’ll have the chance to share her idea and connect with industry leaders.

The Feeding Better Futures Contest Winner

The global population is rising, and our current food system simply isn’t equipped to handle it. We’re solving the food accessibility problems of today and tomorrow with help and ideas from amazing young people — like you.

Read the source article

This Giant Cabbage Inspired A Nine-Year-Old To Feed Thousands Of People In Need

HUMANKIND

A decade on, Katie Stagliano is helping to fight hunger across the United States.
By Natasha Hinde

 

When nine-year-old Katie Stagliano sowed cabbage seeds in her back garden for a school project a decade ago, she never expected to grow a 40-pound vegetable.

But, like something out of ‘James And The Giant Peach’, the cruciferous kept growing and growing. (“My brother was four years old at the time and my cabbage was bigger than him,” she recalls.) The vegetable was so large that her grandfather constructed a purpose-built cage around it, to keep the local deer from eating it.

Katie distinctly remembers looking out of her window at the vegetable, which had taken three months to grow, and wondering what she was going to do with it. Her family had always been hyper-aware of food waste – she’d been taught from a young age that other families weren’t as fortunate – so Katie was determined to do something to help.

After digging up the vegetable (with help, of course), she took it to her local soup kitchen where it helped feed almost 300 people. Now, aged 20, she’s been inspired to fight against hunger, working across 30 states in America.

Read the source article

Garden Tips from Madi

Madi has been one of our most successful Katie’s Krops Growers. Her accomplishments in and out of the garden have been numerous. We asked Madi to share her tips for being a successful grower and we are thrilled to share those tips with you.

My name is Madi and I was the 2015 Katie’s Krops Grower of the Year and the 2016 Katie’s Krops Top Grower. This is my fifth year growing with Katie’s Krops and it has been an amazing experience. I donate my crops to family friends going through rough times, MANNA Foodbank at my Grandma’s church, and I sell some crops for donations. All of the donations I receive go to Broyhill Baptist Children’s Home in Clyde, North Carolina. Since I started Katie’s Krops in 2013, I have grown a total of 12,344.15 pounds of produce. Here are my four main tips for growing a successful Katie’s Krops Garden

  1. Prayer — Especially if you’re a Christian, pray about your garden. God can help you through anything if it is in His will. He has definitely blessed my garden beyond what I had ever imagined. Even my first year of growing: I grew 510 pounds! I was astounded and that number just kept on going up and up. My faith has been my main asset through the good and the rough times in my garden. I am so happy to be able to help so many people through my garden.
  2. Experimenting — Try new things! See what works for you in your climate and what doesn’t. For example, I don’t have much luck with watermelon and pumpkins. The humid summers we get here in Western North Carolina rot the bottoms before they are ready to harvest. Cabbage and beans grow really well here though! The new things you try don’t just have to be the crops you are growing, it can also be techniques. I like to have raised beds in my garden for some small things like carrots, radishes, and romaine lettuce. The ones my Grandpa built for me lasted about three years before rotting, so this year we tried the hay bale raised beds we saw online. There was a lot of rain and the hay held that in almost too well. It got kind of soggy and flopped over. Who knows, it could work for one of you though!
  3. Crop Rotation — Don’t plant things like tomatoes in the same place consecutive years in a row. The plants will use up all the nutrients in the soil. You can use cover crops like soybeans in the winter to replenish the nutrients or you can trade out what plants go where every year. Or you can do a little bit of both like me! It doesn’t mean you can’t plant the same thing there ever again, just change it up every once in a while. It will be good for the soil and your plants.
  4. Gain Understanding — Research the plants you have. See how to grow them best, if they typically work well in your area etc. Know about what you are planting. Know the benefits and the risks. You will probably have problems with weeds, bugs, and maybe even some animals like groundhogs and deer. Understanding how to deal with those in a healthy and harmless way is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Lastly, look in the almanac if you have access to one. My Grandparents share part of my garden and they help me in mine. They use an almanac and it is very helpful. We know the best times to plant everything each season. Knowing about what you’re growing can really help.

Join us for our Katie’s Krops Dinners in 2018

We are very pleased to continue our Katie’s Krops Dinners in 2018 with the support of Summerville Baptist Church. Join us on:

  • Thursday, January 25th
  • Thursday, February 22nd
  • Thursday, March 22nd
  • Thursday, April 26th
  • Thursday, May 31st
  • MONDAY, June 25th
  • Thursday, July 26th
  • Thursday, August 30th
  • Thursday, September 27th
  • Thursday, October 25th
  • Thursday, November 15th
  • Thursday, December 13th

All of our dinners are held at Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. Doors to the Fellowship Hall open at 5:30 pm and dinner will be served at 6 pm. Everyone is welcome at our dinner table. Our dinners are always free. Thank you to everyone who supports our efforts and helps us end hunger.

Join us for the November & December Katie’s Krops Dinners

Mark your calendar for our November and December Katie’s Krops Dinners. The November dinner will be held on Thursday, November 16th and the December dinner will be held on Thursday, December 14th. Our holiday dinners are always extra special. The dinners are held at Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. Everyone is welcome. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the meal is served at 6 pm.

Celebrating Seven Years of the Katie’s Krops Dinner

On Thursday, October 26th we will celebrate seven wonderful years of the Katie’s Krops Dinner. Over the past seven years we have prepared thousands of meals and made countless friends. We hope you will come out and join us at Summerville Baptist Church for a hot, healthy and free meal on October 26th. The doors to the Fellowship Hall will open at 5:30pm and dinner is served at 6:00pm. Summerville Baptist Church is located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. Everyone is welcome at our dinner table. Here is to seven more great years!

Join us in the Garden as We Fight Hunger

We will host a garden work morning on Saturday, October 21st from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, at our flagship garden located at Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville, South Carolina. This is a wonderful opportunity to help end hunger in our community. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to join us. We do ask that for our younger volunteers, they are accompanied by an adult during their time in the garden.We also recommend that you please bring gloves, sunscreen, water, and a snack and wear closed-toe shoes.
Katie@KatiesKrops.com.
Thanks for helping us end hunger, one vegetable garden at a time.