Clayson ~ Nebraska

One thing you can say about the Katie’s Krops garden that Clayson Thayer, 9, of Champion, Nebraska, grew in 2021 is that it’s big – really big – 817 square feet big! The other thing you can say is that he grows a wide variety of vegetables and grows a lot of them, such as 25 pounds of squash.

After his dad learned about Katie’s Krops through the city of Imperial’s Facebook page, Clayson applied for and was selected as a 2021 Katie’s Krops Grower. Using knowledge and guidance from his father and grandfather and with help from the entire family (parents Chance and Chandra, seven-year-old brother Cryder and four-year-old sister Cayven, and even Grandpa on occasion), the garden was planted with acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash, carrots, green beans, radishes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, and lettuce. The spring lettuce did exceptionally well, as did the tomatoes, although the latter were grown a bit too close together, making harvest a challenge.

Clayson had problems familiar to all gardeners. The cabbage did not do well at all due to bugs. A summer drought became another issue. Even though there was finally a downpour of 5 inches of rain, it was too late for the spinach at the end of the garden that unfortunately wasn’t getting watered. 

Even as a fourth-grader in the Chase County school system with school work to do, Clayson has shown a lot of dedication to his garden and maintaining it throughout the growing season. A 43 by 19-foot garden takes a lot of time, even when it’s located in your yard. However, he likes helping people and making them happy, and the abundant produce he’s grown does just that. In addition to giving food to family and friends, especially the elderly, both the Imperial Community Center and the Crossroads Wesleyan Church pantry have benefited. Most donations have gone to the community center, where they use the produce for daily meals. Any produce not used is set out for people to take as needed.

When his parents recently asked Clayson for thoughts on his garden, he responded with several lessons learned. The tomatoes need to be spread out more, so they are easier to pick. The corn needed to be planted at the same time for better pollination. The sunflowers were a big success, and he’s hoping to save some seeds for next year. The pumpkin pie pumpkins, and squash did great. He also experienced that feeling familiar to all gardeners: It’s so hard waiting for the plants to produce vegetables ready to pick!

Pour It Forward at Accent on Wine

During the month of October at Accent on Wine at Whitehall, we will celebrate their 1st-anniversary by “Pouring it Forward” to honor and support Katie’s Krops. Enjoy a designated red or white wine by the glass for the month of October in which a portion of proceeds benefits Katie’s Krops. In addition on Saturday, October 23rd they will host an anniversary party that benefits Katie’s Krops! More details to come on this event but we would love for you to save the date! Accent on Wine Whitehall is located at 5401 Netherby Lane Suite 1003, North Charleston, South Carolina.

11th Anniversary of the Katie’s Krops Dinner – October 14th

On October 14th, we will celebrate the 11th anniversary of the Katie’s Krops Dinner! It has been the most fantastic journey that started when I was in middle school and the only full-time soup kitchen in Summerville I supporting shuttered. Never could I have imagined that day in middle school what I would be creating and the number of people we would help feed in our community.

In those 11 years, I have graduated high school, graduated college, faced a pandemic, created a second family who I adore of the people who attend the dinners, filmed a segment for Disney Channel and a feature-length documentary The Starfish Throwers highlighting our work at the dinners, had the honor of working with the most amazing chefs who want to give back to the community, and have been blessed to have the very best volunteers by my side. None of this would have been possible without the support of our partners at Summerville Baptist, who believed a decade ago that a small group of children could change the world one meal at a time.

This year there will be no big outward celebration as we are stretched very thin meeting the current need of our community but please know I am celebrating in my heart. Thank you for your support, your kindness, and for believing in me for 11 years.

Come out and join us on Thursday, October 11th at 4:30 for our to-go anniversary dinner at Summerville Baptist Church at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville. The menu is meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, tossed green salad, fresh bread, and desserts. If you are ill, in quarantine, or do not have transportation and reside in Summerville, we will make every effort to deliver meals to you. Please email Katie@KatiesKrops.com by Tuesday, October 12th, with your full name, complete address, phone number, and the number of meals needed.

The 2022 Katie’s Krops Grower Search is Officially Open!

We are excited to expand our growing family! Children ages seven to sixteen who reside in the United States are eligible to apply to start a Katie’s Krops Garden in their community, where the whole harvest is shared to help neighbors struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

Youth selected as Katie’sKatie’s Krops Grower in 2022 will be awarded an all-inclusive grower kit. This kit will include items necessary to start their garden. Starting a Katie’s Krops Garden is so much more than just receiving the tools to start a garden. Youth selected as Katie’s Krops Growers are empowered to grow a healthy end to hunger in their community and positively impacting the health of their cities and towns. Growers are eligible for scholarships and support from our sponsors.

To learn more & to access the application, follow this link: https://katieskrops.com/apply-for-a-grant/

Zion, Zielle, and Ziriah ~ South Carolina

Goose Creek, South Carolina, is a great place to grow a Katie’s Krops gardens. Just ask the Bryant sisters, Zion, Zielle, and Ziriah. The girls tried gardening last year with some success but have produced in 2021 after signing up for Katie’s Krops and receiving a starter kit with a soil testing kit, pots, a hose, shovels, gloves, seeds, and a gift card to buy anything else they needed to grow their garden.

Their front yard now includes a vegetable plot with multiple crops, including the three sisters of corn, squash, and beans, because three sisters pretty much need to grow the three sisters, wouldn’t you agree? They haven’t limited their garden to that, though. They also grew bumper crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans along with basil. But, on the other hand, the watermelon did not do so well and never got bigger than a baby squash.

The girls first learned about gardening from their late grandfather, who taught them skills such as turning over the soil, checking the sun pattern in their garden, and how to grow tomatoes. Zion and Zielle also volunteer in the Green Heart Garden at their school, Meeting Street Academy in Charleston, where they are in the 4th and 2nd grades, respectively. 

The girls are supported in their efforts by their parents, Marcus and Brittany. Brittany is also on the board of Green Heart. They help them package their produce to deliver by hand to elderly neighbors within walking distance, just as their grandfather did, and for the sister of one of their teachers. Each of the girls has their own reasons for gardening. Nine-year-old Zion feels closer to her grandfather when she is in the garden and likes helping people and sharing, while Zielle, 7, likes getting dirty. Ziriah enjoys being outside with her siblings AND getting dirty. 

Gardening in South Carolina presents both challenges, such as the heat and advantages, including being able to raise very productive spring and fall gardens in addition to the usual summer garden. The Bryant family’s fall garden will include beets, carrots, broccoli, kale, peas, lettuce, spinach, and onions. In addition, they’ll be continuing their efforts battling destructive bugs, pests, and diseases without harming the beneficial bugs they’ve seen, such as ladybugs or dragonflies.

Plans are already in the works for next year. The family will be expanding with the addition of a baby boy, and the garden will be expanding from 36 to 72 square feet by increasing the plot from 12 x 3 to 12 x 6 feet. That garden might not include sunflowers, though. Dad was not impressed by them. Fortunately, he and the rest of the family do like the fresh produce. 

Our Wishlist~

In the past nineteen months, we have expanded our efforts to meet the needs of our communities. The biggest challenge was growing with a greatly reduced volunteer base. To say we are exhausted is an understatement. But we are also incredibly proud of what we have accomplished and what we continue to achieve every day. We are so blessed to have amazing supporters and volunteers who work tirelessly to feed our community. We would be honored to have your support to continue our efforts. We are sharing a list of our current needs. We hope we can find the support to grow, educate, and support. Thank you~

– A licensed and bonded tree service to donate their service (or provide a substantial discount) to trim trees in our flagship garden in Summerville, South Carolina. Our plants desperately need more sun this fall and winter! 

– We desperately need a volunteer with a small tractor to level off a section of our garden where trees were removed. We plan to use the space to expand our garden, but that is not possible until that area is leveled off.

– A volunteer with a stump grinder to help tackle a few roots in the garden.

– A Polywood Rocking Chair for our outdoor classroom. Sadly, our beautiful wooden rocking chair could not withstand the elements; therefore, we need a non-wood rocking chair.

– Four new outdoor yard signs to share the information regarding our free dinners. The signs we place outside the Summerville Baptist Church are a vital communication tools to share when our dinners will be held. We need four new signs size 18 by 24. 

– For our Katie’s Krops Dinners, we need canned corn, stuffing mix, divided to-go boxes, ranch salad dressing, chickpeas, ketchup, kidney beans, Worcestershire sauce, pepper.

– A small backless bench.

-Fall flowers- mums, snapdragons, pansies, freesias for our flagship garden to continue to attract pollinators.

-Hand Pruners.

– Four large Food Scoops for our Katie’s Krops Dinners- https://www.restaurantsupply.com/vollrath-47139-jacobs-pride-5-33-oz-white-6-disher?keyword=&gclid=CjwKCAjwy7CKBhBMEiwA0Eb7ajIy7ZGCkz6cSjoy6J4CvybSTdy25f9wrcqXL4HPV_btBsdTk7mBixoC-TAQAvD_BwE

-4 Large Garden Trugs -https://www.gardeners.com/buy/colorful-garden-tub/35-592.html

– Food Service Gloves- Nitrile-Vinyl size large and extra-large.

If you are able to support in any way please reach out to Stacy at Stacy@KatiesKrops.com.

Thank you~

Volunteers Needed!

We desperately need help! Sadly we have hit a major obstacle in planting our fall crops in our flagship garden. An animal has started to dig up our garden bed in two sections of our flagship garden. We need to protect our garden beds before we can start planting our fall/winter garden. We have found covers that we feel that will protect the garden beds and our crops. We need to find volunteers to build the covers before we can start planting. If we can find ten volunteers to build two to three covers, we will be able to start planting our fall garden. I cannot stress how important this is and the time crunch we are under. We desperately need to get plants and seeds in the ground. More people than ever depend on our efforts.

Here is an example of what we are trying to build:

If you or someone your know can help build one or two of these covers, we will be extremely grateful! They can be built onsite or offsite. Again, we are at a complete standstill until we can install covers on our beds or risk losing our fall garden. We can be reached at Stacy@KatiesKrops.com or 843-327-3366. Thank you!

Delivering Meals to Our Quarantined Neighbors

Summerville Friends,

Our next Katie’s Krops Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 16th. The number of our neighbors battling COVID remains extremely high. We will continue to deliver meals to those in quarantine to ensure they have the healthy food they need.

If you or someone you know is in need of meals delivered, please let me know by Tuesday, September 14th, and we will work to have meals delivered to their doorstep with contactless delivery. Unfortunately, we are only able to deliver in Summerville.

Please email Katie@KatiesKrops.com with the complete delivery address, the number of meals needed, and a contact phone number.

Stay safe, everyone~

Purchase a Katie’s Krops Sweatshirt & Help Us Grow!

For a limited time, you can purchase a Katie’s Krops sweatshirt. A portion of the proceeds will help us continue to grow. Katie’s Krops have exclusively been earned by volunteers. For a limited time, anyone can purchase a sweatshirt to help us raise the funds we need to grow. If you have any questions after visiting the link below please reach out to Katie and Katie@KatiesKrops.com.

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/support-the-katies-krops-meal-distribution?utm_campaign=desktop-post-launch-v3&utm_content=support-the-katies-krops-meal-distribution&utm_medium=social&utm_source=copy-link

Aspen ~ Indiana

Aspen Anglemyer, nine, might be a new Katie’s Krops Grower, but he is certainly not inexperienced. Aspen started in the garden as a toddler, working with his grandfather. Grandpa still helps him grow vegetables and flowers by tending the garden when Aspen’s family is out of town. Aspen and his mom and dad, Valerie and Kelly, grow cucumbers, radishes, peas, green beans, carrots, and flowers in three raised garden beds, along with tomatoes in individual buckets. Even the family dog, Ruby, gets in the act by eating the weeds as they are picked and tossed in a corner.

Currently a third grader at Wakarusa Elementary School in Goshen, Indiana, Aspen first heard about Katie’s Krops from his mom, a middle school teacher. She read about the organization in an e-mail from Youth Service America (YSA) that featured the group’s work being done to help alleviate hunger through the growing efforts of children.

Not every crop has been a success. Aspen managed not to grow zucchini, which, as most vegetable gardeners know, is quite a feat. The blame for this can be laid squarely at the feet – or should we say roots – of the Cosmos flower plants. They love their raised bed spot so much that they are now over 5 feet tall and prolific enough that they blocked both the sun and water from reaching the zucchini plants. Making lemonade out of lemons, he and his mom cut the flowers and make bouquets for the other teachers at her middle school to brighten their days. Who doesn’t like to see some pretty flowers at their door when they get to work? To avoid this same thing happening next year, the family already has plans to add a fourth raised bed to give the zucchini a fighting chance. Fortunately, there have been very few other problems or pests other than some Japanese beetles.

Aspen has fun working in the gardens from May until the first frost in October or early November, and he also enjoys helping people save money. Besides providing food for his own family, he puts out produce for his neighbors to take and enjoy. He has given baskets of cucumbers and tomatoes to the Family Christian Development Center. This foodbank serves the families living in his school’s neighborhood. They are now working on harvesting radishes and green beans for the food bank.

Aspen also enjoys the light-hearted moments in the garden, such as the carrots that grew a little too close together and managed to wrap themselves around each other and the bees on the flowers that were so still that both he and his mother thought they might be dead. Of course, they weren’t a slight shake of the flowers, and they buzzed right off. Katie’s Krops looks forward to Aspen buzzing into his garden for many years to come to help feed his community.