An Amazing Teacher!

When you start a new school year, it is like a new adventure. Who will your teachers be? Who will be in your classes? Will you make new friends? As I enter the last month of my 6th grade year I can look back and on those questions and say, my 6th grade year has been wonderful in large part due to a teacher, a friend, who has become a large part of the Katie’s Krops family. Her name is Miss Fuller and she is my 6th grade science teacher.

 Having a science teacher that is an excellent teacher is wonderful but nothing can compare to a teacher who supports you, believes in you and your dreams and guides you.  Before I even set a foot in her classroom, Miss Fuller was eager to help. Over the summer, she met with me to find out how she could help and support the garden. Little did I know then, the garden would become our text book and our classroom.

We began the school year with a unit on soil, a perfect introduction to the garden. We started off testing soil for ‘real life applications’ (we would be planting in the soil we tested & the harvest would be donated to those in need in our community) and making trips to the garden to work. As we worked together ideas started to grow and before we knew it the entire 6th grade was undertaking a huge school & community wide composting project to help boost the harvest from the gardens by improving the soil with compost, the waste the school would normally toss in the trash.

That was only the beginning. Just like my gardens, it grew into so much more. It turned into unforgettable experiences.

Who would have ever thought that you would ride in a cop car or chip old Christmas trees with your science teacher? Well that’s exactly what we did. We collected 58 Christmas trees to compost for the gardens. To compost the trees, we needed to chip them. We called a parent at the school with a tree removal business and asked if he could come help us chip 58 trees. Everything was set in place and a couple days before the trees were to be chipped, we noticed the pile had shrunk. We had rearranged the trees to count them; maybe that’s why they looked different. Then we counted them, 39. WHAT??? Where had all our trees gone??? That was it; Miss Fuller and I called the cops. When they finally arrived they looked at us like “What? You called us over here because someone stole Christmas trees, after Christmas?” Most teachers would have looked at me like “Seriously? You want to call the police about stolen Christmas trees?” But not Miss Fuller, she believed in me and said, “We are calling.” Miss Fuller showed me that there is value in your hard work and you should not let anyone take anything from you (no matter how obscure). It was Miss Fuller’s and my first (& last!!!) ride in a cop car. It really brought out the investigators in us. Finally it was time to chip the 39 trees into mulch, with wax earplugs in we watched our collection of trees, minus the stolen ones, sucked into the giant wood chipper. Another first for both of us.

When I learned that our local homeless shelter that had been closed for months would be opening to serve dinners if someone would provide, cook and serve the meal I immediately signed up. Who was right there with me to organize the dinners, Miss Fuller. Since our first dinner in October we have worked together to provide healthy well balance meals to families in need in our community.

Our science classroom became a greenhouse this year and at times even a film studio. Miss Fuller was there to support, encourage and believe in my dream to providing healthy fresh food to people who are in need.

          Miss Fuller has taught me that when someone believes in you, believes in your dreams, there is nothing you can’t do. I hope everyone has a teacher like Miss Fuller sometime in their life because everyone deserves a teacher as great as she is.

 

 

The Magic of Healthy Living..the weekend!

The Magic of Healthy Living! The Weekend!-

Last weekend I had the honor of participating in an amazing event with Disney. If you watch Disney Channel you know what The Magic of Healthy Living is. For those who don’t The Magic of Healthy Living is a new initiative by Disney to encourage healthy habits by eating healthy and exercising. Disney recently held an essay contest about kids own fun ideas for leading healthier lifestyles at home, in school and in their communities. The fifty winners of this contest received a trip to Disney where they participated in a TRY-athlon with these activities:

  • TRY-athlon activity #1: “Play-Your-Way” – Fun and creative games from different countries, including Chinese jump rope, South African “keep away” and Spanish “dodge ball.”
  • TRY-athlon activity #2: “Pass the Plate” – A lunchtime challenge with Disney World chefs guiding families in preparing quick, balanced and healthy meals.
  • TRY-athlon activity #3: “Bouncing Around the World” – A hunt for playmates in the countries of Epcot World Showcase led by, among others, the Mad Hatter and Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • TRY-athlon activity #4: “Garden of Possibilities– Walt Disney World flower and garden experts guide the kids in planting a variety of vegetable gardens, including a special Italian pizza garden.

The winners didn’t do all these activates alone though. Disney Channel starts Allison Stoner, Daniel Curtis Lee, Jennifer Stone, Caroline Sunshine, and Kenton Duty, NFL football players Barrett Ruud, Mark Herzlich, and Darrell Green as well as all of your favorite Disney characters. And oh there was…Me. From the opening ceremony to the closing, this weekend was full of fun! I spoke during the opening ceremony, telling about Katie’s Krops. Then I planted the “Garden of Possibilities”, the Italian pizza garden. It was so much fun! And the planter; in the shape of a pizza slice! We planted tomatoes, basil, peppers and much more! It was great talking and connecting to the kids too. I even met two kids from South Carolina!

While I was at Disney, I realized that when I started Katie’s Krops, I wanted to provide fresh, healthy vegetables to people in need, but what I didn’t realized was that while doing that I would be exercising and introducing myself to new healthy vegetables!

One of my favorite restaurants of all time is in Disney. The restaurant called The Garden Grill in the Land, serves fresh healthy vegetables from Living with the Land, a ride that shows you all the cool new ways to grow vegetables. The dinner, amazing! They make sweet potato fries, baked, and they rocked! Disney has so many amazing restaurants that serve healthy, delicious food.  

Thank you Disney for allowing me to be a part of such a special event! I have so many new and wonderful ideas for Katie’s Krops: new recipes, new garden ideas and new friends to create the magic of healthy living with!

 

 

Katie’s Krops Grant

 

         Thank you to everyone who applied for a Katie’s Krops grant. I received over two hundred amazing applications which made the choice very hard. My intention was to give out two grants, but as after I read all the applications,it was impossible to select two, even three or four. So, I ended up giving out seven full grants and 3 partial grants!! I want to thank everyone who has made a donation to Katie’s Krops, because you are the reason that I am giving out all seven grants.

I was very happy to see how many people shared my dream! So many kids realized how real hunger is and want to help solve this world problem. When I asked kids why they wanted to receive a grant I received answers like, “When I went to the grocery store with my mom, I realized that the cost of junk food was less than the cost of fresh produce” and “My friends  tell me that sometimes the only time they eat is at school” and “If I could grow a vegetable garden and have other kids help me it can not only feed people in need but also teach other children a skill they can use in their lives.” Having applied for many grants before, I know the disapointment of not receiving one.  I do not want to disappoint anyone if they did not receive a grant, but that is not because I think your dream is not amazing. As I said before, I would love to fund all two hundred grants, but I am not able to. I think every single applicant shares the same incredible dream and just because I am unable to fund you, doesn’t mean you should give up your dream. There are other amazing organizations out there that share the same dream as we do. I started with nothing, but with determination and will power I am now not only living my dream, but I am helping others do so too. Next year, I hope to give out twice the amount of grants I gave out this year.Now I am motivated more than ever to raise funds to achieve that goal!  Again thank you to all of the applicants, I think your dreams are amazing.

 

 

 

 

Signs of Spring!

The school garden after the long cold winter.

 

The fig tree against the amazing Carolina sky!

Starting beans from seed with the1st graders.

Only you can change your life! Don’t wait for the perfect moment, make every moment perfect!

Only you can change your life! Don’t wait for the perfect moment, make every moment perfect!

I read this on a posting on Facebook yesterday and I thought truer words were never spoken. You can sit around and say “When this happens” and “If this happens”, but only you can make it happen. If you have a dream don’t wait to for that perfect moment to start achieving it, you need to make the moment happen. This quote is for anyone who is uncertain if they can do something, you can! It doesn’t matter how young you are there is nothing you can’t do when you try.

Yesterday I went to see the Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never Movie. It was really inspirational! It showed that fame is not just awarded to you; you have to work for it. Justin worked extremely hard to get where he is. I was inspired how he had a goal and a dream. After a visit to Madison Square Garden he decided his goal was, one year from that day, to sell out a concert there. He did not wait for the perfect moment to start working towards his dream. He worked hard from the start and in one year, Justin Bieber achieved his goal and sold out Madison Square Garden in less than half an hour.

So what is your dream? That perfect moment is now. What are you going to do to make it happen? A year from now I would love to be able to repost this blog and change the paragraph about Justin Bieber to a paragraph about you! Only you can change your life! Don’t wait for the perfect moment, make every moment perfect!

What I Really Want

I will be the first to admit that desperately want an iPad, a new iPod, that adorable jacket I found at Anthropologie, the super cute shoes I saw on-line and well I could go on and on. I will also be the first to admit that I often bug my parents with all of my ‘wants’ and ‘have to haves’. But then something happens. I go make dinner at Palmetto House or serve to the guests at Tri County and suddenly all my ‘wants’ and ‘have to haves’ go away. What takes its place? Determination. I want to help them and make sure that they have meals. I am able to eat three healthy meals every day. I have a warm bed to sleep in every night.  I have a family who loves and supports me.  I am able to go to a fantastic school. I have everything I need. Sometime you get so wrapped up in the wants that you forget that you have everything you really need. There are so many people who don’t have basic needs such as food and clothing. My wants turn from an iPad or and iPod to I want to makes sure they have a healthy meal and to make sure that cute little boy at the Palmetto House who is homeless has a bed to sleep in.  That is what I really want, to make sure that there are no hungry children. That is my dream, that is what I am determined to make happen.

Not a Doubt in the World

        This week I received an e-mail from a girl in Iowa who had to do a project on how teenagers can change society. She asked if she could interview me for her project. I was very touched that she would want to interview me but I was stumped by one of the questions. What was that question? “What doubts did you have and how did you overcome them?” I had to think a long time about this question. I have to say I have never had doubts about what I was, what I am, doing. I believe that things will always work out, maybe not as I planned but I know everything with will work out. Last week was a perfect example.

Tri County Family Ministries is very special to me. It is the soup kitchen that I donated my 40 pound cabbage to. It was the soup kitchen that started my dream. When I had the opportunity to start a garden at Tri County I jumped at the chance. My Uncle Alec built 4 of the largest, most beautiful planters and delivered them to our house from North Carolina. Into our garage they went (in place of my moms car). The planters are huge and would require a tremendous amount of potting soil. We priced out the soil and WOW! It was going to cost a lot of money to fill my new planters. The planters stayed in the garage and my mom’s car stayed in the driveway. Finally my mom made arrangements to have Tri County come pick up the planters, potting soil not included, yet.

The day before the planters were to be moved to Tri County we received a phone call from my friend Miss. Becky at the Summerville Home Depot. Miss Becky called to tell me that she had bags of potting soil for me, not one or two bags of soil but a whole pallet full of potting soil. I had never mentioned to Miss. Becky that I need that I need soil for the planters. Everything came together and in just a few short months Tri County will have a beautiful harvest of vegetables growing in there planters. My parents may have had doubts that they would never be able to park in the garage again but I never had a doubt that the planters my Uncle Alec built would be ready for spring planting.

So how did I answer the question from the girl in Iowa, “I think that if you believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing doubt will never be an issue.”

 

 

 

Listen to your heart!

Well this short story begins as the weather man tells us about 5 or 6 weeks ago that growing season is over, done, that’s it! I however did not listen to the weather man, I listened to my heart. And what did my heart say, it said that growing season was not over. I did not pull out all of my plants, despite those that told me too. It has been the coldest December on record, here in Charleston, but that  did not stop me. Even when it got so cold that the pipes froze, leaving no water at my Pinewood Garden I was not detoured. They are too many hungry people in the Lowcountry & I wanted to, need to, help them. My plants were hearty too; those freezing nights and snow shower we had here in Summerville did not kill my plants. What do I have as a prize from listening to my heart, lettuce, beautiful lettuce. That might not be much of a prize, but it is something, something worth celebrating. I did not listen to the weather man or to those who told me my plants would not survive. So, the moral of this story; listen to your heart. Today I harvested a row of beautiful lettuce that will go to Tri County Family Ministries to feed people in need tomorrow. I am so very happy that I listened to my heart, it never steers me wrong!

 

My beautiful Bonnie Plants Red Sails Lettuce!

Thanks for the great baskets Miss. Anita!

Snow in Charleston!!

Last night an unexpected treat came to Summerville… snow!!!! We usually only get snow about every ten years here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, so it is a special treat for us kids when we do. We woke up to a winter wonderland outside. Unfortunatly that meant that all of the vegetables were covered in snow too! Good thing cabbages & brussel sprouts like the cold!

My cabbages collards covered in snow!

While the snow fell…

My little brother enjoying this unexpected treat!