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Katie's Krops

In Your Backyard - Agritourism.Life

In this edition, we take a different approach to this section of our magazine.

“In Your Backyard” usually highlights the plants you may find or desire in your own backyard, but sometimes ideas can grow there, too!

Our great friends at Proven Winners introduced us to this heartfelt story of Katie’s Krops. Katie will inspire your mind , warm your soul, and provide hope that the future is bright in the wonderful hands of our youth.

Small Gardeners, Big Impact

Katie Stagliano received her first cabbage seedling when she was nine years old. She nurtured it into a 40-pound behemoth a local soup kitchen used to feed nearly 300 people.

The experience planted an idea in the third-grader’s mind. “If one cabbage could feed that many people, imagine how many people a garden could feed.”

Katie started a project at her elementary school to grow produce for soup kitchens and food pantries. The school garden attracted media attention, and the story spread across the country. Soon, Katie was getting messages from kids all over America who wanted to know how they could help the hungry in their communities.

“I thought, what better way to pay back everybody who supported me than by supporting these other kids who share my passion for ending hunger?” Katie recalls.

In the fourteen years since that first cabbage, her nonprofit, Katie’s Krops, has grown to more than 100 gardens all over the country, all of them operated by children between the ages of seven and sixteen. The gardens have donated countless tons of homegrown produce to feed the hungry.

Katie’s Krops gardens are located in backyards and on balconies. They are hundreds of square feet or confined to containers. Whatever their situation, kids dedicated to ending hunger in their communities find a way to make it work.

“Kids are amazing,” Katie said. “They never see the obstacles, only the possibilities.”

Gardening is great activity for kids because it is so flexible. Novice gardeners learn as they go, Katie says, and most plants are very forgiving of mistakes.

When children are involved from the very beginning, they develop an appreciation for where food comes from. They also realize that being young doesn’t mean they can’t do great things.

“Once they plant the seed, they love to watch the plant grow,” Katie says. “When it’s time to harvest, they are blown away. They planted that. They did that.”

Growing vegetables also encourages kids to be more adventurous in their own diets. Katie has found her young volunteers are more willing to try a new vegetable if they had a hand in growing it. In doing so, many discover new favorites. It’s not uncommon for some young gardeners to snack on collard greens picked right off the plant as they walk through the garden, she shares.

Whether they want to feed their family or to feed the community, gardening is a beautiful way to connect children with their power to make an impact. No matter how big the organization gets, the people behind Katie’s Krops never forget it started with a little girl and a single seedling.


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