In 2008, when I was only in the third grade, a tiny cabbage seedling from the ‘Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program’ changed my life forever. That tiny cabbage seedling took root in a sunny corner of my backyard and grew into a massive 40 lb. cabbage that changed the course of my life forever.
I knew my cabbage was special and it needed to find a special home. Every night before dinner, my father reminded my brother and I how blessed we were to sit down to a healthy meal. Many families struggle with hunger or rely on soup kitchens for what might be their only meal of the day. One night at the dinner table it came to me, I knew what I needed to do with my cabbage. I wanted to share it with families struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
My mom contacted Fields to Families, a local organization that assists farmers in donating extra crops from their fields to organizations that feed the hungry. They recommended I donate my cabbage to Tri-County Family Ministries, a local soup kitchen in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Everyone at Tri-County welcomed me, my family, and my cabbage with open arms. The director, Ms. Sue, invited me back the following day to serve my cabbage to the guests of the soup kitchen. I had the honor of serving my cabbage to 275 guests on that day, and my life was forever changed. I got to see the face of each and every person my cabbage helped to feed.
At 9 years old, I knew I wanted to do more to help individuals and families struggling with hunger and food insecurity. If one cabbage could feed 275 people, imagine how many people a garden could feed!
That is story of how Katie’s Krops began with a mission to empower youth to start and maintain vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to those in need, as well as assist and inspire others to do the same.
I am now 24 years old, and I am so proud to see that I get to continue to live the same dream I had when I was 9 years old every day.
Katie’s Krops started in my backyard and has now grown to over 100 gardens growing across the United States in 30 states. Every Katie’s Krops Garden is youth-run. Thousands of children across the country are getting their hands dirty working to end hunger in their communities.
I am incredibly proud of our young Growers and the impact we have made in the lives of people struggling with food insecurity. Since 2009, Katie’s Krops has grown and donated over 500,000 lbs. of produce to those in need across the country.
In addition to our incredible family of young growers, Katie’s Krops also hosts bi-weekly meal distributions, open to anyone in the community at Summerville Baptist Church. In October of 2022, we celebrated 12 years of the Katie’s Krops Dinners and over 50,000 meals served to our neighbors in need.
In March of 2021, we opened the Katie’s Krops Outdoor Classroom, an immersive learning experience located in our flagship garden. Students utilize the garden as a hands-on learning tool and have wonderful teachers come in to share their knowledge with them. Students learn about nature, pollinators and insects, how to grow their own produce, composting, recycling, doing fun arts and crafts and so much more.
Thank you to everyone who believed in my dream and has supported the efforts of our young Growers, our Katie’s Krops Dinners and our Outdoor Classroom. Together we are a powerful force and have made a tremendous difference in the last 14 years. I am so excited to see what the future holds for us and to continue our fight to end hunger, one vegetable garden at a time!
In September 2012, Katie became the youngest recipient of the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society. The Clinton Global Citizen Award recognizes individuals from various sectors who demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges. “The work being done by this year’s honorees is nothing short of extraordinary,” said President 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.”
In May of 2014, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards named Katie one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers. In January 2016, she was honored with the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Vision Award for model citizenship. In addition, she is the recipient of the 2017 EEASC Outstanding Environmental Award for contributions and awareness in South Carolina. In 2016 Katie was named to The University of California’s inaugural Global Food Initiative 30 Under 30 Awards. The awards recognize 30 young pioneers and innovators trailblazing to solve the global food crisis by making extraordinary contributions in a wide array of food-related fields.
She has also received: The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, the 2016 Jefferson Award winner, the 2014 Money Magazine Heroes, the 2015 Charlotte Bacon Award, the 2012 Wonderific Service Award, a 2013 Hasbro Community Action Hero, and she is a 2010 Sodexo STOP Hunger Scholar, was 2009 Build a Bear Workshop Huggable Hero, a Nickelodeon HALO Effect honoree, is a 2010 Kohl’s Kids Who Care Scholarship winner, a Nestle Drumstick Hero, a Farm Rich Kids Who Give winner and has been named one of the top youth volunteers in the state of South Carolina.
Katie won first place in the Gardener Supply Company Garden Crusader Award in the Feeding the Hungry Category, an honor usually reserved for adults. She was the winner of the first Amazing Kids’ Launch My Dream’ contest, with her dream being ‘no hungry children…it only takes a seedling’.
Her outstanding achievements have landed Katie in People Magazine, USA Today, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Gardens, Time for Kids, and Weekly Reader, to name a few of the national publications. Katie has also been a question on Jeopardy, a guest on The Chew, a guest on CNN, featured on Great American Heroes with host Trace Adkins, The Nate Berkus Show, The Katie Brown Workshop, NBC Nightly News ran two segments on Katie as part of their ‘Making a Difference’ piece. ABC featured Katie on Everyday Health a program featuring individuals who are making a difference in the health of their community.
Summerville Journal Scene Readers’ Choice Awards- Favorite Non-Profit 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018
Summerville Journal Scene Readers’ Choice Awards- 2021/2022 Best Local Hero
Summerville Journal Scene Readers’ Choice Awards- 2021/2022 Best Activist Group and Effort
2021- The College of Charleston named Katie one of the top 15 graduates in its 250-year history.
In September of 2021, Katie’s Krops was recognized internationally while being selected for the Nation-Building Youth’s Award from The Nation-Building Institute International held in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Starfish Throwers
Katie is one of three principal characters in a feature-length documentary, The Starfish Throwers. The international award-winning, cinematic non-fiction film explores how three of the most compassionate and daringly driven individuals have taken the seemingly hopeless war against hunger into their own hands in astonishing, brave, and even dangerous ways. The film has won numerous awards, including the 2016 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards for Best Documentary, and was named the Most Heartwarming Film of 2014 by the Huffington Post.
Katie’s first book, Katie’s Cabbage, was published in December 2014 by University Press. Katie’s Cabbage is the winner of the 2015 Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award, The Christopher Award, and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. The Award is given annually to the children’s book or books published the preceding year that most effectively inspires community service and volunteerism in children. The children’s book shares her true story of how a forty-pound cabbage introduced her to hunger issues in her community and how she was compelled to follow her heart to grow a healthy solution to hunger.
Her second segment for Disney Channel can be viewed here. Her work is featured in the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. Recently Katie was featured in the Oprah Winfrey Network on The Hero Effect.
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of produce donated
Touring the country, and sharing her dream to grow a healthy end to hunger has earned Katie the ‘Steller Speaker’ designation. To learn about how you can have Katie speak to your organization or at your event please contact Stacy@KatiesKrops.com. For any speaking or media requests, please share all available information about the event, how long you would like her to speak for and the date.