Now 14, she’s been growing and feeding people ever since, with her nonprofit Katie’s Krops that now seeds 55 kid-grown gardens in 21 states and produces thousands of pounds of vegetables.
In September, the cabbage that started her crusade landed the Pinewood Prep 8th grader in New York City – and in the company of President Bill Clinton, as one of six recipients of this year’s Clinton Global Citizen Awards. “He’s really into science,” says Katie. “He talked to me about photosynthesis.”
Katie works with groups addressing childhood health and nutrition issues and is part of an upcoming documentary Give Me Your Hungry. She’s also been featured on the Great American Country cable network’s Great American Heroes with Trace Adkins show.
“He’s a country boy,” says Katie of Adkins. “He makes fun of me and my mom for wearing gardening gloves.”
Her now-famous cabbage seedling that she planted in her family’s backyard made 275 meals (supplemented with ham and rice) at a homeless shelter in Katie’s community.
Says Katie, “I thought, ‘Wow, with one cabbage I helped feed that many people? I could do much more.’ ”
She started other gardens – in her subdivision, on donated land and on a field at school – seeded with donated plants and tended by school and community volunteers Katie recruited.
Those vegetables and volunteer networks have sprouted, feeding growing numbers of the needy. Her nonprofit, started in 2010, offers grants of garden center gift cards to fledgling gardeners ages 9-16 to start their own gardens, with a new grant application cycle that goes through Feb. 12. Katie hopes to eventually have gardens in all 50 states.
Katie is active in monthly suppers in Summerville, where kids cook vegetables from their gardens and feed anywhere from 50-150 people. A November dinner in a neighboring community transformed an elementary school into a restaurant for several hundred students and their families.
“A lot of these kids have never been to a real restaurant before and they’re not really eating as healthy as they should be,” she says.
Despite being thankful for the oversized vegetable that started it all, Katie offers a tiny admission: “I don’t really eat cabbage that much. I know I’m supposed to probably love it but it’s not one of my favorite vegetables,” she says. “But I mean, it’s not that bad.”
The recipients of the 6th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards included a 14-year old who started gardens to supply soup kitchens to alleviate hunger, the world’s richest man who has spent $6 billion of his wealth boosting health care and education, two courageous leaders who risk their lives standing up for LGBT rights, a successful entrepreneur who turned his skills to helping revitalize Haiti, and business and philanthropy leaders recognized for their outstanding contributions.
The Clinton Global Citizen Awards recognizes individuals from various sectors who demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges. Carlos Slim Helú, founder of Fundación Carlos Slim; Luis A. Moreno, president of Inter-American Development Bank; Denis O’Brien, chairman and founder of Digicel Group; Pepe Julian Onziema, programme director and advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG); The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, executive director of St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre; and Katie Stagliano, founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, will accept awards this year.
“The work being done by this year’s honorees is nothing short of extraordinary,” said President Bill Clinton. “Tonight I’m proud to honor two Ugandans who risk their lives to secure basic human dignities many of us take for granted, three leaders whose contributions have positively impacted communities across the Caribbean and Latin America, and a social entrepreneur on pace to take my job before she turns 16. These are some truly amazing folks. They embody the spirit of CGI and inspire us all to be more responsible citizens of the world.”
We are thrilled to share, The Starfish Throwers will debut March 21 at 8pm ET/PT on DirecTV’s Audience network (channel 239). This will be the US Broadcast Premier for the film that features Katie’s efforts, along with the amazing work of Allen Law and Narayanan Krishnan. The film has been shown in theaters all over the world and was name the #1 Heartwarming Film of 2014 by The Huffington Post. The Starfish Throwers will be available on demand to subscribers on the DIRECTV site after the Audience debut on March 21.
Planting the Seed of Change: How One Teen Will Feed Cancer Patients in Need
Planting the Seed of Change: How One Teen Will Feed Cancer Patients in Need
Thirteen-year-old entrepreneur Katie Stagliano turned a 40-pound cabbage into a community garden that feeds hundreds of families each year. Now after learning that ‘Everyday Health’ host Ethan Zohn’s cancer had returned, Stagliano wants to do something in honor of him and cancer patients in her area.
By Katie Stagliano
During the first season of Everyday Health, hosts Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca visited Katie Stagliano, founder of Katie’s Krops in Summerville, S.C. The 13-year-old began a community garden after her 40-pound cabbage won top honors in her elementary school class’s contest. After three years, Stagliano now has 11 satellite gardens, which also donate food to local shelters and families in need. (Catch the Everyday Health episode featuring Katie’s Krops on Dec. 17 or 18 on your local ABC station.)
After hearing that Zohn’s cancer had returned, Stagliano became inspired to do even more. Here, she checks in to tell us what else she’s got growing.
The holidays are a time when a lot of people are donating to soup kitchens and giving toys to those in need. I think that it is amazing how much support these people get during the holiday season: Food baskets on Thanksgiving, coat and jacket drives for the cold winter months, and toys for Christmas. This means a lot to families, especially those with young kids, who have trouble providing for themselves.
But what a lot of people do not realize is that hunger does not end after the holidays. People will still wake up hungry January 1st.
Appearing on Everyday Health was a huge honor. Since the show first aired in September, we have started cooking and serving dinners at Summerville Baptist, a local church with a huge dining hall. Word has spread across the community, and we have had huge crowds. Our first dinner alone had 60 people, and at our last dinner, 95 meals were served!
I believe that because of the challenging status of our economy, more people are falling on hard times. We get calls every day from families asking for fresh vegetables and food or for the date of the next Katie’s Krops dinner. I am thrilled that Summerville Baptist Church believes in our mission and has agreed to fill the void of no longer having a soup kitchen in my community by allowing us to continue to prepare healthy, fresh, and hot meals to anyone in need in 2012.
Everything Happens for a Reason
I have found that sometimes life is like a puzzle. All you need are the few missing pieces for it all to make sense. And this year I found those missing pieces in the people I met.
I had the great privilege to work with Ethan Zohn on Everyday Health. He is a cancer survivor and is so full of life, so much fun, and so determined to live life to the fullest.
I also met Mark Hertlizch, a survivor who fought cancer all the way to the football field. Mark is a player for the New York Giants, #58. While he was at Boston College he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Mark had been an amazing football player at the college and he was determined to beat cancer and play again. Mark did just that and now he plays for the Giants.
Harper Drolet was an 11-year-old girl who lived in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She battled cancer twice, but, unfortunately, during her second fight Harper passed away. Her memory lives on and her spirit lives on through ‘Hugs for Harper,’ which raises money to help fund pediatric oncology research.
And finally, our family friend and neighbor, Miss Susan, is a breast cancer advocate. She approached us before Thanksgiving, asking if we had any food she could pass along to breast cancer patients, some of who are even homeless.
Why did I meet these people? What did I learn?
Just as I knew there was a reason I grew my 40-pound cabbage, I know there is a reason that these people came into my life. In 2012, I will continue to fight hunger one garden at a time, and I will continue to put the pieces of the puzzle together and see where they will lead me.
Planting the Seeds for a New Garden
I learned what I think most of us already know — that cancer is a horrible disease. Cancer takes a toll financially on patients and their families. Often caregivers are forced to give up their jobs to care for their loved ones. The financial burdens of the disease can be overwhelming and, as a result, families battling cancer sometimes struggle to put food on their tables. When you are fighting any disease or caring for someone in the fight of their life, proper nutrition is of the utmost importance.
That is when I put the pieces of the puzzle together: Katie’s Krops would start a vegetable garden to provide cancer patients and their families with healthy, fresh produce.
Katie’s Krops mission is to grow vegetable gardens to feed people in need, and I can see no greater need than growing produce to provide nutritious fruits and vegetables to cancer patients and their families. In 2012, I will start a Katie’s Krops garden dedicated to feeding people who are fighting cancer. The harvest will provide patients with healthy produce, and it will be a tribute to honor those who are battling this terrible disease and those who have passed because of cancer. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
If you would like to help with the gardens dedicated to cancer patients, learn more about Katie’s Krops and our mission to fight hunger one vegetable garden at a time, or find out how kids ages 9 to 16 can apply for a grant to start a Katie’s Krops garden in their community, please go to KatiesKrops.com.
Last Updated: 12/14/2011
From Farm to Table: How One Teen’s Garden Is Feeding Hundreds of Hungry Families
Katie Stagliano never imagined that the 40-pound cabbage she grew for a school contest would have planted the start of an inspiring non-profit that’s stamping out hunger one vegetable garden at a time.
By Sharon Tanenbaum
Katie Stagliano caught the gardening bug early, thanks to her family’s garden in their backyard of their Summerville, S.C., home.
“It wasn’t that much. It was like a few tomato plants, a pepper plant, and a lettuce,” Katie says of her “salad garden.”
Of course it may not seem like much now to this ambitious seventh grader, who turned her passion for planting and picking into a thriving non-profit organization that manages nearly 20 gardens to help to feed the homeless and hungry through local shelters and soup kitchens. The group, Katie’s Krops is featured on the next episode of Everyday Health airing October 1 or 2 on your local ABC station.
And it all got started with a not-so-small cabbage.
Planting the Seed of Change — Literally
When Katie, now 13, was in third grade, her school participated in the Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program, which provides students with cabbage plants to grow to win a $1,000 scholarship (and bragging rights, natch).
“We planted it and treated it like every other plant in the garden,” Katie recalls. “But it ended up growing to be so much bigger than every other plant.”
In fact, the cabbage (an O.S. Cross variety, known for producing giant heads) ultimately weighed in at a staggering 40 pounds — and won Katie the contest.
But after the initial cheers and congratulations, there was the question of what exactly to do with a 40-pound cabbage plant. After all, serving it to Katie’s own family of four — or even her classroom — would result in a waste of perfectly good and wholesome food.