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.

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.

Rose ~ North Carolina

Katie’s Krops Growers begin with the organization for various reasons. In 15-year-old Rose Stoehr’s case, it has become a family tradition. Older siblings Jackie and John preceded her, and while both have moved on to college, the garden they helped tend for years at Hawk Ridge Elementary, a public school in Charlotte, North Carolina, is still growing. Mom Carrie is a teacher at the school as well as the garden coordinator, and Rose started participating in 1st grade; eight years later, she has moved on to high school but is still an active Katie’s Krops Grower and the youth lead responsible for the Hawk Ridge Garden.

The first Stoehr sibling to join Katie’s Krops was Jackie. She and some 4th-grade classmates at Hawk Ridge wrote the grant application, and she continued working in the garden for many years until she left for college. John then spearheaded the garden for a year until he left for college as well, leaving Rose to take charge. Both Jackie and John say they learned a lot about gardening, whether they were lugging bags of dirt, planting seeds, watering, weeding, picking produce, and performing all the tasks involved in maintaining a healthy garden. Both also learned a lot about their community, its needs, and that the fresh produce is very much appreciated at the food bank since most of the food they have is canned.

With her siblings off at school, Rose is now the lead Katie’s Krops Grower. From starting seeds in the wooden raised beds in March to the final harvest in November, the garden produces tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and various greens. These crops are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank, whose recipients are thankful for and enjoy the 400 to 500 pounds of fresh produce grown annually. This bounty is produced in 9 raise garden beds totaling 336 feet; herbs grown in pots are also donated. Growing the food provides students with an opportunity to volunteer while working outside in the dirt, weeding, and planting. Rose enjoys that and feels good that these donations help others.

Volunteer gardeners are recruited from the student population each year. Carrie recently made a video to recruit volunteers this growing season and now has six students per day helping in the garden. Limiting the number of students is needed to ensure that they are socially distanced while they work. It’s a fun learning experience for those who participate each spring and fall; as with most school-based gardens, students do not participate when school is not in session, but Rose and her mom keep the garden going during the summer.

The Charlotte area has a relatively long growing season. The heat of summer definitely results in a bumper crop of bugs, too, which must be dealt with along with some damage to the garden in the form of trash and uprooted crops that is done by a few kids. Fortunately, those issues are not too frequent or harmful. The gardeners do have a source of water for their crops, making watering in the Charlotte heat a lot easier. Rose estimates that she personally spends 5 to 7 hours a week while the garden is being established in the spring and then 2 to 3 hours each week during the summer and fall growing and harvesting seasons.

Rose is the last in the line of the Stoehr siblings, but even when she graduates high school and heads off to college in a few years, she hopes to continue helping in the garden during the summer and to do her best to remain a part of the garden and work to engage future students in learning about gardening and continuing the work of Katie’s Krops.

West Carrollton High School~ Ohio

Not all Katie’s Krops gardens are grown in backyards. Sometimes they are community-based at a church or school. One such garden is the Pirate’s Patch; named after the school mascot, it’s located on the grounds of West Carrollton High School, just south of Dayton, Ohio, and is where students from the school raise food guided by Judi Brooks. Judi is officially the Computer Lab Coordinator but incorporates her love of gardening and love of students into teaching the students about growing vegetables and helping the community.

The garden got its start several years ago when Judi and Lori Balazs, a colleague at the school, were interested in creating a garden where students could experience growing vegetables and use the garden as a community service for the students to raise and donate to the homeless in Dayton. Science teacher Mike Newman was familiar with Katie’s Krops from his time in Summerville, SC, the organization’s hometown, joined in and challenged his students to write essays to use for applying for the first Katie’s Krops grant. Using the funds from the first grant, Mike and his students planted radish seeds in the classroom, experimenting with different growing methods, and later transplanted them in the Pirate’s Patch. A couple of years later, Judi assumed the leadership role and has worked with student and community members to continue the work in the garden through Katie’s Krops.

Various students are generally involved with the garden, including Environmental Science students, the National Honor Society (NHS), football and volleyball teams, and anyone interested in growing food. Unfortunately, this past growing season was not “normal” due to Covid19. All West Carrollton’s students had 100% remote/hybrid learning, so they were not able to help in the gardens. Darn Covid! That did not deter Judi and others. They continued growing to provide over 1,000 pounds (a garden record) of fresh vegetables to the St. Vincent de Paul shelter to feed their residents. This included pumpkins, squash, tomatoes (from plants provided by Proven Winner), potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, kale, beans, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, celery, radishes, turnips, and various varieties of lettuce.

In addition to helping feed the community, an important goal of Katie’s Krops, the garden provides many educational opportunities while building unique relationships for both the students and adults. Students have an opportunity to learn how food is grown and how it tastes fresh from the plant/vine without the use of chemicals. Some are leery of digging in the dirt and getting their hands in the soil, especially when it gets under their nails, but when a student harvested a 5-pound sweet potato in 2018, it was “game on” to see what everyone else could find in hopes of topping that weight. They’ve learned that as the growing season ends, you can pick the green tomatoes and let them ripen indoors as well as make a cake with them, which Judi did. They enjoyed eating it and were a bit disbelieving when they found out what was in it after they finished and had requested another one.

The students learn other skills too. They are responsible for weighing and photographing the produce as it’s harvested, entering the amounts in a spreadsheet. By analyzing the results, they learn what was most and least productive, providing the information they need to decide what is best to plant during the next growing season.

Pirate’s Patch is a 24 by 78-foot area of raised beds constructed of cinder blocks, including footpaths to reach all crops. Trellises using PVC pipes allow for vertical gardening, and even the holes in the cinder blocks are used to grow root vegetables and lettuce. Many large pots lining the walkway provide more growing opportunities. A new high school will be built within the next few years, and plans are being developed for a new greenhouse and space for gardening. In the meantime, cold frames and adding more vertical growing areas are the immediate goals for the current garden.

The Connie Sue Parsons Memorial Butterfly Garden, located in the school’s courtyard and created in memory of a school secretary, provides additional learning opportunities as the students experience the life cycle of butterflies. The students are able to observe all four stages of the butterfly’s life, from an egg to a caterpillar to a chrysalis and finally to the emergence of the butterfly. Environmental Science students receive their own eggs to care for and observe. A butterfly cage in the school library’s media center provides an additional indoor opportunity for any student or staff member who is interested in observing the process.

The students are currently learning through a hybrid model of 2 days at school and three days remotely, so the hope and plan is that they will once again be involved in the garden this coming growing season. 

Anderson, Coleman, Lewis ~ Kansas

Outside Kansas City, Kansas, and a short walk to the Kansas/Missouri state line, Anderson Strom, 12, and his brother Coleman, 14, have been official Katie’s Krops Growers for three years. In 2021 younger brother Lewis will ‘officially’ join them and hundreds of children across the country as a Katie’s Krops Grower. Their adventure in growing with Katie’s Krops began after reading a magazine article on Katie’s Krops. The siblings applied and started raising food in multiple 4 foot by 10-foot beds that give them between 150 and 200 square feet for Katie’s Krops and additional growing space for the family’s own food needs. However, mom Amanda and the family canned so much food in 2019 that nearly all of the produce raised in 2020 was donated to others.

What produce it was too! Okra, lettuce, watermelons, pumpkins, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, kale, parsley, green beans, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, and strawberries have all been grown. However, Lily the dog THINKS the strawberries are hers and eats them accordingly. One crop that did not work out for them, though, is corn. What, corn didn’t work? They’re in Kansas; how could corn not work?  They did get some great stalks but no actual ears of corn. It could have been a pollination issue; it was a lesson learned that not everything planted is successful in every garden.

While many Katie’s Krops gardeners use raised beds to produce more food, they are pretty much an imperative for Anderson. Trauma at birth resulted in his paralysis from the chest down. That doesn’t keep him down, though. Despite his core and lower limb paraplegia, he has use of his arms and is able to do every garden chore needed; Coleman and younger brother Lewis do not cut him any slack in that area. After all, if he can – and does – kayak and play wheelchair basketball, why should he get out of weeding? In fact, Coleman, Anderson, and Lewis believe that no matter what limitation a person may have, everyone is worthy and able to give, love, and donate their time and energy in whatever way they can and suits them best.  

It’s too bad Lily the dog doesn’t also like Japanese beetles because she could feast on them and probably some caterpillars too. These are two of the pests that the Stroms battle, mainly by using Neem oil. To have a successful crop, they also need to battle hot and humid weather that requires frequent watering, clay dirt, which is one reason they have raised beds and some famous – or should we say infamous – Kansas storms. The hail and wind they produce make it imperative that crops be staked and tied up.

Planting and growing run from the first summer seeds hitting the ground in late March/early April until around Thanksgiving in late November when the fall crops are done. Throughout the year, the harvest is distributed to those who need it through various organizations. The Shawnee Community Center runs a food pantry, and fresh produce is always welcomed.  Sometimes it’s welcomed a little too much, such as the time Coleman and Anderson were stocking the shelves with their vegetables, and the waiting crowd started to mob them to get to it. It was both a little scary and eye-opening to see what it meant to people to get food that was fresh.

Food is also donated to the First Baptist Church in Stilwell, Kansas. The church, as well as some other churches and corporations, partner with Harvesters, a community food bank that currently runs drive-through food distribution events. Harvesters has access to refrigeration and is better able to keep the food fresh until the next distribution day.

Addison & Ian ~ Texas

Sibling rivalry? It’s not always a bad thing; in the case of Ian and Addison from Austin, Texas, it’s a fun incentive to grow more food through Katie’s Krops.

Ian, a 16-year-old high school senior, started a garden on his grade school grounds when he was eight and in 4th grade. That was not especially easy since he needed to make sure the plants were watered – Austin summers are sweltering and dry – and protected from storms that sprang up. This entailed riding his bike or getting rides to the school, which involved some planning and coordination. Two years later, he heard about Katie’s Krops and applied for a grant. The funds he received enabled him to start growing his garden at home, which is much more convenient and easier during adverse weather and grow he does. His vegetable garden includes tomatoes, root vegetables, Armenian cucumbers, sweet potatoes, various greens, okra, and bullet head wax melons, which taste like a sweet squash and can grow rather large; his biggest one topped out at almost 100 pounds.

Addison, a 14-year-old high school freshman, decided to join her brother in the garden to see if she could grow more. Her efforts are concentrated on fruit, such as strawberries and [potted pomegranates. She has grown cantaloupe in the past, and she and Ian share a fig tree, but it’s not old enough to produce fruit yet. Addison also tends a butterfly garden to aid in pollination and grows edible flowers.

The sibling rivalry is not Ian’s primary reason for his garden, but he’s quick to laughingly remind his sister that he currently produces more food than she does. Ian is more motivated by fulfilling a need for food and the reaction of people who receive it.  He initially started distributing food by setting up a table in a food desert area without many fresh produce options, which let him see the people he helped. Ian also donated to food banks and set up a table at a local food pantry. With the Covid-19 virus, he has had to decrease the direct distribution to people and now works with a parent support specialist at a local school who gives out the food to those in need. On occasion, Ian can join them at their community events or deliver directly to people whose names come from some non-profits with which he is in contact. In all cases, hearing the food recipients’ stories provides even more motivation to garden.

As any gardener knows, there are challenges in growing. For Addison and Ian,  these include the lizards that love to feast on the strawberries. Squirrels, birds, rats, and other critters also like to help themselves to the produce. The oppressive heat in July and August means that most crops will not grow during that period, but freezing rain in winter can also impede crop production. Storms provide another challenge with their heavy wind and rain. When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, much of the garden was flattened, including the okra plants. Even though the storm pulled them out of the ground and they ended up laying flat across the raised garden beds, they proved their resilience by growing new roots, bending their stems at a 90-degree angle, and producing more okra as they once again pointed to the sky and grew.

The siblings are very much supported in their efforts by their mom. They have also had friends help in the past. Due to the pandemic, they had had to work independently.

As for what’s next, well, Ian will be heading to college next year where he would like to continue gardening; it’s one of his criteria for selecting a school. Addison is looking forward to taking over the garden and winning the competition.

Megan ~ Florida

Two continents, two gardens? Yes, that’s what Katie Krops gardener Megan Godwin has accomplished. When she was twelve years old, Megan moved to South Carolina, where her mother, a teacher, taught Katie’s brother and was Katie’s eleventh-grade homeroom teacher. At the time, the Katie’s Krops flagship garden was located at the school. With a heart for service even then, Megan participated in garden workdays in the large garden and helped cook and serve Katie’s Krops dinners using the produce from the garden. Megan became a core volunteer who embraced every volunteer opportunity Katie’s Krops offered and connected deeply with the people at the dinners.

Megan left South Carolina to attend Stetson University in central Florida, where she is currently a sophomore pursuing a double major in Health Science and Public Health. This did not dim her desire to serve and help people by providing fresh, organic produce and seeing the positive impact on their lives. Aloma Church, which she attends, gave her a plot of land for growing, and she received an annual grant from Katie’s Krops for creating her garden. As a result, she has provided an abundant harvest to the church’s Single Women’s Ministry and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, a faith-based homeless shelter that runs homes for women and children and men, and volunteers her time to work with the children. Her efforts won her the honor of Rookie of Year with Katie’s Krops in 2018.

Gardening in Florida presents challenges, including only two seasons, at least with regards to weather. In winter, collards and swiss chard grow in abundance and are used by the shelter in soups and stews. Summer is longer – much longer – and her best crops so far are okra, eggplant, peppers, and squash. The high summer heat is problematic for many other vegetables, but Megan perseveres and keeps trying. One of those improvement efforts is rebuilding the raised garden beds. The beds will now be twelve inches high, rather than six inches, and use cinder blocks so they will not rot. Her 2021 grant from Katie’s Krops will fund this effort. As with all the garden work, the rebuild is being done by Megan, a group of college friends, and even the parents of the friends.

Now, about that second garden… Compassion International visited Aloma Church and shared their Compassion Success stories at camp. Megan prayed for guidance in helping people in an African country, and through the Mishono Foundation, she was afforded an opportunity to travel to Kenya to create a garden. Just five days after turning 19, she obtained a grant from Katie’s Krops and flew to Kenya by herself. She supplemented the Foundation’s efforts to feed, clothe, and educate children, thereby teaching the children how to garden. These homeless children work in the garden to share the harvest, but they’re happy and excited to do it since they are rewarded with fresh food that they produce themselves under the guidance of supervising team. The supervisors even say the kids are independent in doing the work. Megan is looking forward to returning to Kenya once Covid-19 does not affect travel.

In the meantime, Megan’s work truly reflects Katie’s Krops mission to fight for a more generous world. To think, it all started because her mother taught Katie in school…

Dexter, Clayton, Ashleigh ~ Florida

Dexter age 18, Clayton age 16, and Ashleigh age 12 reside in Fort White, Florida, where they are having a tremendous impact on their community. In 2019 alone, they donated over 12,000 pounds of fresh produce to their community. Year after year, the siblings continue to be the top Katie’s Krops producers.

“We have learned from our garden/giving back experience that we gained a purpose in our community by serving those around us.   Giving back has been a great way to get to know our community and its citizens. We have an opportunity to meet lots of new people.  Working with other volunteers who also care about improving our surroundings allows us to broaden our network of supporters.  It has helped us better to understand the circumstances of other citizens in our community and helps you to be an effective and empathetic citizen.”

Their garden grows year-round, and they share their harvest with The Young Marines of North Central Florida. The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c3 youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight, through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promote the mental, moral, and physical development of its members.

The Young Marines of North Central Florida Food Pantry – Feeding  Families – Food Pantry Distribution is held every Tuesday, in Fort White, Deece Park, at 1:00 pm.  Food insecurity and drug use are closely connected in the context of poverty, according to studies. Findings suggest a high degree of poverty among study participants, but particularly among drug users.  Drug users were more likely to be food insecure and be exposed to increasingly severe food sufficiency problems.  Their goal is also to help reduce drug use by providing a source of food security.  They strive to promote community service that will end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, and promote living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

“Growing for Katie’s Krops is important to us because we are able to reach a diverse population of people and do one thing….help others.   We serve three organizations, North Central Florida Young Marines, Scouts of America, and Katie’s Krops.”

We are blessed to have young Growers who are so dedicated to serving their community.