Ezekiel + Zachariah~ Michigan

Every gardener faces adversity at some point, and 9-year-old Ezekiel and his seven-year-old brother Zachariah have probably encountered more than their share for their ages. It all started at their previous home in West Virginia, where they became Katie’s Krops Growers after their mom, Meg, read about the organization on Facebook. Their garden there did well until the bugs got to the green beans and peas. Still, they had a good harvest of other crops that they could donate to a senior home in the town of Rupert.

Before the 2023 growing season, they moved to Michigan and settled near Lansing to be near family. Unfortunately, their new home didn’t have a yard for growing. Hence, the family got creative and started a porch garden with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno, and other hot peppers and cilantro. Growing in containers was a new learning experience. Still, they were doing well, picking and sharing their crop in the community while expecting to harvest even more until August 24, when the tornado came. Yes, a TORNADO! In Michigan…

Mom Meg says that losing some roof shingles and a bit of siding from their rental home didn’t disturb her nearly as much as losing some of their plants and the fruit from others. They knew they wouldn’t have as much bounty to share, but the boys wanted to continue their efforts because Zachariah finds gardening fun. Ezekiel enjoys tasting vegetables straight from the garden. Meg became creative with what they did have and started stretching it by using the ripe produce in meals that they then shared in their neighborhood with those in need. She also pickled some of the jalapenos and distributed those for the community members to use this winter. That’s good because their 2023 gardening season is over, and they’ve even had their first snowfall.

Mom is one of many in the family that are creative, though. Ezekiel and Zachariah showed that same spirit in West Virginia when they wanted to eat a watermelon, and Mom was busy with something else. They knew they shouldn’t use the knife to cut it, so they threw it on a wall. Not surprisingly, it broke open, and they enjoyed a delicious treat. While we at Katie’s Krops don’t encourage throwing food around, especially watermelons, we applaud their spirit and ability to adapt to changing growing methods, climate, and circumstances beyond anyone’s control.

We look forward to sponsoring them in the coming years.

Support Katie’s Krops This Friday at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Summerville!

We have the most delicious way to support Katie’s Krops!

This FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd, our friends at Nothing Bundt Cakes in Summerville will donate an amazing 20% of sales from the day to Katie’s Krops!

We would be thrilled and honored to have your support. Pick up a sweet treat for your office, surprise a friend with a bundtlet, grab a treat for the family, or spread kindness by purchasing a box of Bundtinis for our local police, fire departments, your doctor’s office, or favorite teacher. In a challenging world, let’s spread lots of delicious kindness on Friday and help Katie’s Krops grow!
Please spread the word by sharing this post with your local friends and family.
To make your life a little sweeter, after your purchase on Friday, tag Katie’s Krops and Nothing Bundt Cakes, and we will select one winner to receive a free bundt cake! We are social on Facebook (Katie’s Krops) and Instagram.
I appreciate your support!
Nothing Bundt Cakes is located at 1202 North Main Street,
Suite 101, Summerville
Store Hours are 9 am to 7 pm.

River City Science Academy ~ Florida

Click Here to Support River City Science Academy via Their Amazon Wishlist!

Some of the luckiest people are the ones who find something they are passionate about and are able to use that passion to support themselves and others. Jarred Shaw, a literacy coach at the River City Science Academy’s Middle-High School in Jacksonville, Florida, is one of those people. An educator for 23 years and previously a school principal in New Jersey, Jarred has always worked with students and local farmers on the gardens at every school where he was a staff member. Now he serves as the head of the school garden club at this Title 1 charter school.

The garden started when Jarred brought in produce to share from his home garden and a science teacher suggested turning a small, blighted space on the school property into a garden. In addition to soliciting support and donations, a student, Donte Camacho, and Jarred wrote a grant request to Katie’s Krops and we have supported them for the last two years.

The six raised and six in-ground beds provide produce year-round. Sweet potatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, broccoli, eggplant, snow peas, pole beans, collards, spinach, and other leafy greens are some of the vegetables that complement the fruit from 15 varieties of fruit trees including lemon, lime, fig grapefruit, and herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley. They also have a butterfly garden and grow milkweed, roses, and other flowers as pollinators.

The 150 pounds of food produced so far has all been distributed to the students in need as well as some school staff. One 75-year-old teacher said the produce he receives helps keep him alive. New raised beds are being built from wooden pallets so that even more can be grown and shared.

The garden club is still small, with 5 to 10 students participating at any given time. As a STEM school, there are many activities vying for the attention of the students. They still appreciate the garden, and science teachers like being able to use it for some of their lessons.

The garden is also supported by members of the community, including Jones and Hall Garden Center, the Florida Farm Bureau, Target, Southeastern Grocers, and Wild Ones, a group that promotes the use of native plants. In the summer, support for maintaining the garden comes from Jarred himself as well as school maintenance staff and volunteers. For his part, Jarred does not mind because, again, he has a passion for gardening and for providing healthy eating options to his students. Katie’s Krops shares those passions, and we are happy to support Jarred, the students, and the school garden.

 

Jackson~ Illinois

Nine-year-old Jackson from Illinois enjoyed his first year as a Katie’s Krops Grower so much that he plans to grow again in 2024. He first heard about the organization from his mom while researching grants for her adult garden club.

It has yet to be a total success story; Jackson’s tomatoes, eggplants, and lettuce did great, but the peppers and beans were another story. Despite that, he donated 21 pounds of peaches from the family’s existing trees and 25 pounds of vegetables from his two raised beds to his neighbors and a local food pantry. He also learned about plant diseases and how the drought conditions in the Midwest affected his garden, requiring him to often water with a hose or from a bucket to keep his plants alive.

Jackson did not limit his efforts to just food. He also grew swamp milkweed to raise butterflies and was successful when three orange and black monarchs matured. He nicknamed them Milanos after the cookie container in which they
were raised.

With assistance from his mom and sometimes his sister, Jackson was able to help others, which he says is why he puts in the work to grow. We here at Katie’s Krops are happy to hear that and to help Jackson as he continues with his garden in the coming years.

Katie’s Krops Outdoor Classroom Punch-Cards!

We are very excited to announce that in celebration of our first anniversary of our Outdoor Classroom we will be launching Outdoor Classroom Punch-Cards! Punch-Cards are $80 and will include admission to 12 classes, early access to sign ups (24 hours early!!!) and an eco-notebook and pen to take notes during classes. Once your punch card is filled up, you will receive a prize!! This is a limited opportunity for 25 children. Kids can use their punch-cards to attend some of the amazing classes we have coming up, such as when the aquarium comes to visit for turtle art, candle making with Old Santee Canal Park, learning about bees with Charleston County Bee Gardens and cooking classes with Amor Healing Kitchen!

To purchase a punch-card, reach out to Erin@KatiesKrops.com with your child’s name, age and your phone number. Punch-cards can be paid for via Venmo, PayPal or cash and punch-cards must be paid for before they can be used as admission to classes.

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Mei-Yu~ Oregon

Someone stole the cabbage! Seriously, someone stole the giant cabbage, some smaller cabbages, and bok choy. That was what happened to Mei Yu Leung the first year that she started growing food in a community garden plot in Salem, Oregon, after becoming a Katie’s Krops Grower.

Fortunately, Mei Yu persevered. After all, she was the child who decided four years ago, when she was eight years old, to support her community by organizing two food drives at school. She followed that up by joining a community garden with her family, where they donated some of the produce they raised even before they read about Katie’s Krops online.

Those efforts, for now, 12-year-old Mei-Yu and her helping family, include growing more cabbage and bok choy as well as tomatoes, peas, strawberries, and even some carrots, although the latter has not been as successful as hoped. The majority of her crops are donated to Table of Plenty, a food pantry associated with the Marion Polk Food Share program. Additionally, she also makes direct donations to people in need. Mei Yu enjoys gardening for its own sake, saying it makes her happy; helping others is a bonus to her.

One of the community garden benefits is that the produce from some trees and garden plots is available for all gardeners to take as needed. By doing this, Mei Yu could have additional produce to share, including cucumbers, zucchini, cherries, grapes, blueberries, and apples.

Every gardener runs into problems, such as the slug infestation among the cabbages and bok choy one year. Unfortunately, Mei Yu ran into another crisis in 2020 that most never experience – wildfires. The fires that raged in much of Oregon made it virtually impossible to grow or pick anything starting in September because there was too much smoke to stay, let alone work, outside for more than a few minutes. This shortened harvest time by six to eight weeks.

As plans are made for 2021, it would appear that the days of cabbage theft are over. Mei Yu and her family, including her 4-year-old sister Lucida currently in training as a garden helper, now live in a house with a yard, complete with a fig tree. Again, this year’s gardens, supported by Katie’s Krops, will be an experiment on whether more is grown in the raised beds they are building or in a planned in-ground garden plot. In addition to growing the same items as they did at the community garden, mom Jackie is planning to add some hot peppers to the front garden beds. The family wants to try growing taro once they find enough information on how to do so. New beds might require more than the 10-15 hours that Mei-Yu spends setting up the garden each spring, but she won’t be traveling to the community garden to do so. She’ll also be able to keep a closer eye on the garden and get those slugs before too much damage is done.

Kaine~ Texas

We are thrilled to share that Kaine Gonzales has earned the title of “Katie’s Krops Volunteer of the Year” for 2020 for his dedication to the Katie’s Krops mission. Kaine has worked in more of the organization’s gardens in Summerville, South Carolina, than any other volunteer. Additionally, he has helped to prepare hundreds of Katie’s Krops garden-to-table meals. Kaine’s enthusiasm and desire to learn are truly contagious.

During his two and a half years of volunteering, Kaine found he enjoys gardening, seeing things grow, and being out in nature. He also finds that helping others is rewarding and he appreciates being able to do so through a well-organized group with friendly people. There was both a lot of work involved and fun times, including the vast, sweet potato harvest with one as big as a kid’s head.

Kaine is not the only one in his family who volunteers with Katie’s Krops, Sister Anaya, seven, and brother Manny, five, also helped with tasks such as picking ripe produce and planting seeds. At the same time, his parents provided that all necessary support and transportation. When his parents were not available to give rides to the garden workdays, Kaine was not detoured. He reached out to neighbors to find the lift he needed to help Katie’s Krops grow,

Kaine and his family moved to San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 2020 due to a new duty posting for his Air Force father. To say that we, as an organization, were heartbroken to see Kaine move is an understatement. We are thrilled to share that Katie is now starting a Katie’s Krops garden in his new home state!

It’s an ambitious effort for a 14-year-old. Still, Kaine will have help, first from his father and neighbor, who will help him build raised garden beds. The entire family will help with planting, weeding, and nurturing the garden until the produce is ready to be harvested.  Kaine will share his harvest with a church pantry. Long-distance support and garden advice will come from his maternal grandparents, who farm ten acres in Louisiana. The family sometimes travels to help with planting items such as potatoes, which is a good task for kids who like to dig and play in the dirt.

“Kaine’s enthusiasm for gardening and helping others is second to none. He arrived at every volunteer opportunity with a smile on his face and eager to take on any task. I love how executing the job at hand was never enough for Kaine. He wanted to learn what to do and why. Educating himself was always at the forefront of his efforts. I am so excited that he is taking what he learned in our South Carolina gardens and starting a Katie’s Krops garden in his new home of Texas,” Katie’s Krops President Stacy Stagliano shared.

Kaine has earned this well-deserved honor, including the trophy and $500 scholarship that accompanies it.

Sign Up Today for Our Upcoming Outdoor Classroom Programs

We are thrilled to begin to offer programs in our outdoor classroom. Below you will find a list of upcoming classes and a description including age guidelines for each class. All of our programs require advance signups. Every program will have a limited number of spaces available. Our programs are not drop-off programs, and we require a parent or guardian to stay in the garden area during class time. We ask for programs that involve elementary-age students, adults to step away from the classroom to allow children to work independently with the instructor and fellow students. This does not apply to storytime.

As we are in an outdoor setting, all classes are weather-dependent. We are a working garden that includes bugs, sticks and stone, and all of a garden’s wonders. Closed-toes shoes are required at all times.

Storytime in the Garden with Katie- Monday, April 5th 10:00 am to 10:45 am. 

Join Katie for two stories and explore what is growing in the garden. A parent or guardian must stay in the garden during storytime. Closed-toed shoes are required, and masks are optional. Thank you, Main Street Reads, for sponsoring this program.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-storytime1

Safety Talk with Summerville Police Officer – Friday, April 9th 10:15 am

Summerville Police Officer James will teach a safety class for kids ages 4-8! This class will go over important safety measures, talk about what a police officer does and answer any questions the kids may have. We ask that parents stay in the garden during the class, but let the children sit by themselves in the outdoor classroom. The class is open to 8 kids!

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-safety

Weather Talk with ABC News 4 Meteorologist Dave Williams- Wednesday, April 14th, 10:00 am to 11:00

This program is open to 3rd to 6th graders. Explore weather with Meteorologist Dave Williams. Learn more from an expert. This class is limited to eight. Masks are optional. A parent or guardian must stay in the garden during the weather talk. This program is free of charge.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054da5ae29a6fe3-weather

Children’s Yoga in the Garden- Saturday, April 17th 10 am to 11 am

Join Three Keys Yoga instructor in the garden for children’s yoga. This class is open to elementary-age children. Participants must bring a yoga mat or towel. This class is open to nine participants. A parent or guardian must stay in the garden during yoga. This program is free of charge thanks to our friends at Three Keys Yoga.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-yoga

Storytime in the Garden with Katie- Monday, April 19h 10:00 am to 10:45 am. 

Join Katie for two stories and explore what is growing in the garden. A parent or guardian must stay in the garden during storytime. Closed-toed shoes are required, and masks are optional. Thank you Main Street Reads for sponsoring the program.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-storytime2

Arts & Craft in the Garden- Tuesday, April 27th 10 am to 11 am

Create a beautiful gourd birdhouse from gourds we grew in our garden. This class is open to children 5 and up. There is a $4 charge which includes all supplies. Funds will be collected at the start of the class. A parent or guardian must stay in the garden during arts and crafts. 

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-arts

Our outdoor classroom is located in our flagship garden on the campus of Crossroads Community Church at 505 Gahagan Road in Summerville, South Carolina. The garden is at the rear of the church.

Our Outdoor Classroom is Officially Open!

Today we officially opened our outdoor classroom and hosted our very first storytime in the garden. This is truly a dream come true! We are thrilled to begin to offer educational programming to families throughout the Lowcountry in a natural outdoor setting.

Tomorrow our website will include a list of all programs available and a link to sign up. Upcoming classes will include yoga in the garden, arts and crafts, weather talk with Dave Williams ABC News4, storytime, and gardening classes exclusively for our new Katie’s Krops Growers. We will continue to add programs monthly. All participants must register in advance, and space will be limited. To provide an enjoyable experience for all attendees each class will be open to children in a specific age range. We are actively seeking a sponsor for our classroom to expand programs and be able to keep all classes free of charge.

The DuBose Middle School Katie’s Krops Garden Makeover!

We are thrilled to share we are one step closer to creating a new beautiful expansive Katie’s Krops garden at DuBose Middle School! Our wonderful team of volunteers braved the cold to remove the old decaying beds, remove the weed-filled soil, and created a fresh, clean landscape for us to construct the new garden yesterday. Next Saturday, we will start building the new garden beds and laying the groundwork for the students at DuBose to feed their neighbors in need.

How can you help?

1.) Do you have an impact drill and the skills to help us build a few raised beds? Come join us on Saturday morning! Sign up here- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-dubose2

2.) Make a donation to help us build out the garden beds, line them with weed block, fill the beds with nutrient-rich garden soil, and lay irrigation. Every dollar helps! https://katieskrops.networkforgood.com/…/125226-help…

3.) Spread the word and help us gain the support we need for these students and teachers.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our efforts! The students and faculty are so excited about their garden transformation!