Katie’s Krops 2019 Impact Report

“The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity for growth.”

In 2019 we were faced with our biggest challenge. After a decade of growing an end to hunger in our flagship garden, we were compelled to leave. The departure from the land that we had cultivated, fenced and improved for ten years was abrupt and unexpected due to a change in administration at the school. We were heartbroken but our biggest concern? How would we make up for the loss of crops? How could we ensure that we would be able to cover the loss of over 2,000 pounds of produce and make sure that families struggling with hunger had healthy fresh food?

Our South Carolina Growers rose to the challenge and immediately expanded their gardens to make up for the loss as we carefully explored our options for a new space to grow.

We put a plan in place and started new gardens at Palmetto Scholars Academy, Reeves Elementary, and the Summerville YMCA.

Community members came out to triple the growing space at the Katie’s Krops Spann Elementary School Garden.

At DuBose Middle School, we were able to increase their average summer harvest four times over by engaging the community and involving STEM Club students in weekly garden activities.

Working together, we filled the void the loss of the flagship garden left as we worked to find our new home base.

We are thrilled to announce that we have secured a new location for our flagship garden and have broken ground! Crossroads Community Church, where we have had a smaller Katie’s Krops Garden for five years, will now be home to our flagship garden.

Our new garden will be nearly double the size of our previous garden. We will plant a fruit orchard, build an outdoor classroom, construct raised bed planters, and have meeting space to teach classes. We are excited to have home school groups, military volunteers, and community members join us in ending hunger in our community.

We have a large task ahead of us, but we are thrilled to have a new partner that values our efforts.

Our Founder Katie celebrated her 21st birthday this year. We are excited to announce that she has decided to graduate The College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in three years! Her decision was motivated by her desire to return to her roots at Katie’s Krops fulltime.

Katie is featured in Our Shoes, Our Selves, a book that reveals the remarkable journeys, and the steps 40 inspiring women have taken. Katie and 39 other accomplished women recount the memories behind their most meaningful pair of shoes. Katie’s story is also highlighted in Gardens of the Greats, and Tower Hill Botanical Garden commissioned a portrait of Katie for their exhibition Horticultural Heroes.

This year, inspired by the plight of a longtime Katie’s Krops Dinner guest, Katie’s Krops started making weekly meals for families in crisis and our local shelters. Ms. Candy has Parkinson’s disease and has undergone several brain surgeries to control her tremors. She has had the most positive attitude about her disease and is often more concerned about helping others than her own needs.

Ms. Candy was notified that there had been an error made in the food stamps that she had received for the past ten years. The mistake was not hers; it was an error the state made. Nevertheless, the state is insisting that she must pay back what she was overpaid. Her food stamps have been cut in half. Our hearts broke as we learned that she now needs to eat off $2.76 a day. We knew that we needed to help not only Ms. Candy but other families that are in crisis, individuals, and families that would go without if we did not step in.

Starting in the spring, we gathered our harvest and started to create healthy weekly dinners that provide meals throughout the week for these families.

Across the country, our Growers have had an amazing growing season.

Our Florida Grower, Megan was called to go to Africa this summer to start a Katie’s Krops Garden in Kenya! Megan started her tenure with Katie’s Krops as a volunteer in South Carolina, in our gardens and at our dinners. Two years ago, she was called to start a garden in Orlando, Florida where she supports the Orlando Rescue Mission. This summer she expanded her reach to Africa to start a Katie’s Krops garden!

“My ultimate goal was to teach them how to grow and maintain their garden so that they will no longer have to worry about when their next meal will be. It can teach the children responsibility, and that when they see the fruit from the garden, they will be encouraged to train the next generation how to take care of the garden. It would be a domino effect.

Katie’s Krops and the Mishono Foundation have been so amazing in helping my dream come true of helping end hunger in Kenya. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this trip and the garden possible. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to my next trip to see the kids again and the garden!” Megan~

James, 17, of Oklahoma is our 2019 Grower of the Year. He donated over 800 pounds of the produce he grew to Veterans in his community.

James was inspired to grow with Katie’s Krops to provide fresh produce as a way to honor Veterans for all of their sacrifices to keep us free, to honor seniors for paving the way for his generation, and to help those that have fallen on hard times.

We are incredibly grateful that James has spent the spring and summer sharing his gardening knowledge with his fellow Growers. This summer, James shared his knowledge of garden and growing by writing articles that he shared with his fellow Growers.

Ian, 15-years-old Grower from Texas is also a member of our Youth Advisory Board and a Master Gardener. “This summer, I participated in the 2019 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Master Gardener training program, and I passed my final with a 90!” Other highlights of his year were being invited to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy, being a state honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Washington DC and also was the winner of the Pilot Pen G2 Overachieves essay contest sharing his story about end hunger.

Ian shares his harvest by hosting Katie’s Krops Pop Up Farmers Markets to distribute the fruits and vegetables in food deserts. Ian also supports programs or missions in his area and donates directly to families in need.

Ian is blessed to have tremendous support from his family, including his sister, who helps him a lot at his home garden. Neighbors, classmates, school groups, and community groups also assist him in his bigger gardens.

Ian has dysgraphia. Writing is challenging for him, but he has a story to share that is important, so he writes and posts in hopes of inspiring others. “Even if people don’t contribute to fighting hunger if they find a cause they support or even take a moment to be a little kinder than I’ve accomplished my goal,” Ian.

We welcomed new Growers in 2019

Coleman (Age12) and Anderson (Age11) are first-year Katie’s Krops Growers from Kansas. The brothers donate their harvest to many different places such as Center of Hope, Shawnee Community Service, and the Salvation Army. The brothers had been developing a garden in previous years and thought that they should start donating harvest for Katies Krops. It was eye-opening when they drove to the Center of Hope years ago and gave their birthday gifts of school supplies. They were called to do more.

The whole family helps in the garden including a younger brother, Lewis, Mom, Dad & sometimes their grandparents. Working together, they donated over 200 pounds of produce in their first year.

First-year Katie’s Krops Grower Noah learned shortly after becoming a Katie’s Krops Grower that his family would be relocating from Indiana to Texas in the middle of summer. He was heartbroken at the thought of not being able to start his garden and grow a healthy end to hunger. It would have been easy to wait to start his garden until next spring, but as we have quickly learned that is not in Noah’s nature.

After weighing his options, Noah spoke to his grandparents and asked if he could start his Indiana Katie’s Krops Garden at their home. Noah planted it and tended to it until the day he moved. His grandparents continued to donate the harvest from his garden to Lowell Church of Christ and Mommy’s Haven.  Shortly after arriving in Texas, Noah started to plant his Texas garden.

We so admire Noah’s determination and perseverance and we are so proud that Noah will be growing a healthy end to hunger in two states in 2019!

Exciting New Projects

We are thrilled to share that our New York City Garden footprint is expanding! With careful planning, approval has been giving to build eleven new gardens citywide in 2020, adding to the four gardens currently growing! The impact on youth in the city will be tremendous.

Katie’s Krops is also thrilled to partner with the Charis Academy to start the very first, Katie’s Krops Sensory Garden. The Charis Academy is designed to meet the specific educational needs of the different learner, including children living with autism, ADHD, or other similar educational challenges.

This garden will be maintained primarily by the students of Charis Academy. All things garden-related also will be incorporated into the Charis academic curriculum, from soil chemistry and plant biology to the chemistry of cooking. The Sensory aspect of the garden will benefit the Charis students by bringing the sights, smells, tastes, and touches of nature to their environment.

We are excited about the future and very proud of our efforts in 2019. This year our Growers have donated over 29,000 pounds of produce! We have engaged thousands of children in service and provided healthy fresh food to people struggling with food insecurity. Our youth volunteers have prepared over 6,000 meals for people in need. They have engaged their community by speaking to other students and hosting farmers markets. They are making their communities healthier.

Thank you for your support. We couldn’t grow without you.