August Katie’s Krops Dinners

Join us for our Katie’s Krops Dinners in August. We will continue to serve our dinners to-go style at Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville. The dinner is always free. Our August Dinners will be held on:

Thursday, August 5th

Thursday, August 19th

Dinner service starts at 4:30 pm and ends at 6 pm or when all meals have been served.

A Birds Eyeview of Our Flagship Garden

Thrilled to be able to share an overhead update of our flagship garden. In 2021 our garden saw great expansion with the addition of an outdoor classroom and a new section that increased our growing space by one-third thanks to the Boeing Employee Fund’s generous support. We still have many projects ahead, and we are very excited about what the future holds. If you would like to support our efforts would be extremely grateful! A donation of any amount will allow our flagship garden and Growers across the country to grow a healthy end to hunger. https://katieskrops.networkforgood.com/

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Helping Us Secure a Garden Shed

We would be thrilled and honored to have your support in purchasing a second garden shed for our flagship garden. It has been a dream come true to expand our flagship garden and to open our outdoor classroom. We are able to grow more produce than ever before, and our classroom has been a huge success in engaging families from across our community. Over 60 percent of families who attend our classes have become volunteers that are helping us grow.

With the expansion and classroom has come the additional supplies and tools we need to grow and teach. We have completely outgrown the limited storage space we have in our flagship garden. We would be honored to have your support to raise funds to purchase a second garden shed to secure our tools and classroom supplies. We want to honor and respect every donation made to Katie’s Krops, and right now, we are not doing that successfully because we do not have space to keep items organized and preserved. We have reached a point where our current shed is overflowing with supplies and has become a hazard as we try to reach the tools we need. A new shed would be a huge blessing!

July Katie’s Krops Dinners

We will host two Katie’s Krops Dinners in July on:

Thursday, July 8th

Thursday, July 29th

The dinners will be continue to be served drive-thru style at Summerville Baptist Church at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. Our dinners are always free. Dinner will be served starting at 4:30 pm and will end at 6 pm, or when all meals have been distributed. If you are homebound or do not have transportation and reside in Summerville please contact Katie@KatiesKrops.com and we will make every effort to deliver meals to you.

June 17th Katie’s Krops Dinner

Join us on Thursday, June 17th for our Katie’s Krops free garden-to-table dinner. The dinner will be held at Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville. The church is hosting Vacation Bible School Camp in June, and the kitchen is not available during our normal dinner dates. We will start serving meals at 4:30 pm and will end at 6:00 pm, or when all meals have been delivered.

We know many of you depend on our dinners, and not receiving free meals may present a hardship for you. If during a week when we do not have a dinner, if you would like a basket of fresh vegetables delivered, please email Katie@KatiesKrops.com with your full name and complete address, and we will make every effort to accommodate your request. I look forward to seeing you on June 14th.

We Are Expanding! A Large Expansion of Our Flagship Garden is Underway

To meet our community’s growing needs, we have launched a vast expansion of our flagship garden that will increase our growing space by one-third. The development is being made possible with Boeing Employee Community Fund of South Carolina’s generous support. “I am so grateful to the Boeing South Carolina teammates for their support of Katie’s Krops and allowing us to increase our growing space to feed even more of our neighbors in need. Our outreach has expanded dramatically in the past year due to the pandemic. The Boeing teammates are helping us meet the increased demand,” Share Katie Stagliano, founder of Katie’s Krops.

Volunteers from Leadership Dorchester executed the project. Susan Cox, the lead volunteer for the Katie’s Krops Garden, build shared, “Our biggest hurdle for Leadership Dorchester this year was not being able to fundraise for a big community service project like other classes have done in years past. It just was not the right time to be asking small businesses for donations when so many haven’t survived the pandemic or are scraping the bottom now. We had to get creative and went on a search to find projects that were already funded but needed some sweat equity. We did set some criteria though. We were looking for a project that was achievable and sustainable. It needed to be an urgent need that would have an impact on our diverse community. So, when Katie’s Krops submitted a proposal, it was a unanimous vote to help. They had turned a monthly dinner into a weekly dinner for much of the first year of the pandemic to help anyone in need within our community. We knew we had to return the favor (like that Mike Rose show) and make sure they have everything they need to continue to help the community.” 

The Katie’s Krops flagship garden is located on the campus of Crossroads Community Church in Summerville. If you are interested in volunteering to grow a healthy end to hunger, please visit the  https://katieskrops.com/volunteer/.

Bradley – New Jersey

New Jersey resident Bradley Ferguson, 20, did not set out to be a gardener. When he was in the 7th grade in 2014, he helped renovate the 1950ies building that housed American Legion Post 295, providing a place for the members to hang out and rent out for events, providing some income post. Bradley looked at the vast expanse of land on the post’s grounds and realized it could be used to grow food for veterans.

Bradley applied to become a Katie’s Krops Grower in 2015 and attended one of the week-long camps, which was a tremendous help with learning how to grow. Fast forward a few years, and Bradley’s group, Post Crashers, now yields 1,000 pounds of vegetables per year in 26 raised beds. In addition to being used in advocacy meals at the post, the food is donated to Enphront to help veterans in transitional housing.

Several people from his middle and high schools volunteer to help with the gardening, and it takes quite a few of them. As with many other things last year, COVID presented challenges. While colleges and universities sent students like Bradley, who attends Harvard off-campus to learn remotely, changes also had to be made to keep volunteers safe. Outside the box, thinking provided the answer. Volunteers registered through Signup Genius and were assigned total responsibility for one of the raised beds. They prepare, plant, weed, water, and harvest their particular bed, which allows them to remain safely distanced from anyone else working in the garden at that time. The system worked so well in 2020 that it will be used again in 2021. Thirty-one people have signed up so far this year, including some who will work together on a bed because they are siblings or friends.

Using this system, the 2020 gardens were as productive as ever, with everyone remaining committed to their particular garden bed. As was done in prior years, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, spinach, lettuce, and kale were grown and donated. One change for this year will be an attempt at high-intensity gardening for spinach, lettuce, and kale by planting the seeds closer.

Rocky Branch Elementary – Georgia

So what do you do when you’ve spent the last eleven years as a teacher coordinating the Katie’s Krops garden at your elementary school, using it as a tool for STEM curriculum, but COVID shuts down the school? You start a summer camp program at your home on your farm, of course! That’s what Shawna McGrath, a 3rd-grade teacher at Rocky Branch Elementary in Georgia, did.

The Katie’s Krops garden at Rocky Branch Elementary started eleven years ago when Shawna applied to several organizations for grants to start a school garden. After not receiving a single grant, Shawna saw Katie Stagliano, the founder of Katie’s Krops, on a Disney Channel show. She immediately changed tactics. Her students wrote the grant request to Katie’s Krops. Their application was successful, and, yes, they did feel rather superior since their teacher had not been. The funds that the class received were used to build the first school garden at Rocky Branch. The students planned what to grow and did the planting. This was not only a new venture for Shawna and the school; it was a new venture for Katie’s Krops because this was the first school to receive funding to start a garden. The garden has been very successful, and Katie herself visited the school several years ago to see the students in action and share her book, Katie’s Cabbage. The students who were awarded that very first grant graduated high school last year, leaving behind a tremendous legacy.

As the years passed, the garden expanded using sustainable funding from Katie’s Krops. Members of the school’s gardening club tend to the garden, while the cooking club used the produce to prep meals for five families associated with the school.

Shawna’s classroom includes a grow light to grow seedlings while others are grown in the school greenhouse. A multitude of crops are grown year-round, and everything was going great until 2020, and COVID hit, and the school shut down on March 16, 2020.  Everyone thought it would be for just a week or two, but as we all know, it was not. The school remained closed until the start of the 2020-21 school year. Teachers were given a three-hour window to retrieve all the supplies they needed from their classrooms for remote learning. Shawna and other teachers used part of that time to plant the seedlings that had been started at the school. They were also allowed on campus in June to harvest the crops, including kale, snow peas, lettuce, and spinach. No other school gardening was permitted during the summer.

As in most, if not all, areas of the United States, the need for food exploded as businesses shut down and people were out of work. That’s when Shawna had the inspiration to start her summer camp focused on gardening. People were already seeking her out for advice on planting backyard gardens, but she wanted to do more than that. During the spring, she had her land rezoned and obtained a permit to run the camp. Parents were eager – okay, desperate – for some activity for their children, and there were no problems finding students in the 1st to 6th grades to attend. Each week of the five-week camp saw a different group of 8 to 10 attendees, with the older students helping the younger children as needed. They grew a “giving garden,” and the vegetables grown were combined with grocery store donations to help families in need via the local “Food for Kids” program.

In addition to the food grown at the school, the farm allowed them to grow crops that take up more space, including melons, corn, and sweet potatoes, the latter in towers made of old tires. Shawna taught other strategies, such as “Three Sisters Planting,” where corn, beans, and squash are grown together and benefit each other. 

In-person instruction resumed last fall, but things are not the same. School clubs are not permitted this year, so Shawna’s class and other interested students work in the garden during recess and incorporate this activity into their math and science curriculum. Their fall garden produced lettuce, peas, cabbage, broccoli, and radishes and the spring garden is well underway.

May Katie’s Krops Dinners

For the month of May, we will host Katie’s Krops Dinners on Thursday, May 13th, and Thursday, May 27th. Dinners are held drive-thru style outside the Fellowship Hall of Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. Dinners will be served starting at 4:30 pm and wrap up by 6 pm, or when all meals have been served, whichever comes first. We look forward to seeing all of our guests.