Katie's Krops Of Gold
Author: Joshua Williams
Source: Joshua's Heart Foundation
Katie Stagliano Grows Greens For Good!
Katie Stagliano is a 17 year old from Summerville, South Carolina, USA. She is the founder of Katie’s Krops, a not-for-profit organization with the mission to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes and donate the harvest to help feed people in need, as well as to assist and inspire others to do the same.
The idea for Katie’s Krops began when Katie was in the 3rd grade. In 2008 Katie brought home a tiny cabbage seedling from school as part of the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program. She tended to her cabbage and cared for it until it grew to an amazing 40 pounds. Knowing her cabbage was special she donated to Tri County Family Ministries a local soup kitchen where she served her cabbage to 275 guests of the soup kitchen. Katie decided that day to start a vegetable garden and donate the harvest to those in need. Katie started with a garden in her backyard but knew she wanted to do more. She approached her school, Pinewood Preparatory School, and asked if she school could start a vegetable garden on the campus and donate the harvest to feed people in need in the community. The school embraced the idea and provided the then 4th grader with a plot of land the size of a football field. A large scale garden at the school was born with the help of classmates and teachers. More gardens followed at farms, schools, homeless shelters, soup kitchens & private homes with the harvest from all being donated to local soup kitchens, a homeless shelter and families in need in the community. To date Katie has donated thousands and thousands of pounds of healthy food to those in need.
Katie started numerous gardens in South Carolina but dreamed of having Katie's Krops gardens across the United States. To make this dream a reality, she offered grants to other kids to start gardens to feed people in need in their communities. The decision to offer grants was twofold; to expand her dream to feed people in need across the country and to pay it forward and believe in other kids the way so many people/organizations had believed in her. For the first grant cycle she received over 200 applications from kids ages 9 to 16 across the United States. Katie's Krops has launched numerous grant cycle. In the Autumn of 2015 there are now over 80 Katie's Krops gardens growing across the country in over 31 states. Katie's Krops provides support and education to grantees to ensure that they have the tools to grow successful gardens. Katie continues to fund the gardens where the children are passionate about their efforts and are having a positive impact in their communities. Her mission is to connect with other children who will provide a lasting impact on the community and provide them with the tools and funding to do so.
Cooking with her harvest has become an important part of Katie's Krops. When her local soup kitchen had to shut their doors for financial reasons Katie stepped up and asked if they would open for dinner if she came, provided the food, cooked and served so families in need would have healthy meals. The soup kitchen agreed and for approximately a year she gathered volunteers, created a healthy menu using the harvest from her garden and prepared meals. When the soup kitchen was no longer able to stay open for dinner she was not deterred. Families in need in her community needed a place to eat she would find a way to help. She found local churches and schools that believed in her and she now hosts 'Katie's Krops Dinners'. The dinners are open to everyone and she along with her Katie's Krops crew feeds over 150 people per dinner, the largest dinner served 425 people in need. The dinners are healthy, well balanced and a wonderful social outlet for many people in need. Every meal is based on the harvest from her garden. In October of 2014 the Katie's Krops crew celebrated four years of serving meals to families in need in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. In the past twelve month Katie and her young Katie's Krops crew have served over 2,000 people a healthy, free, meal.
Katie's Krops introduces children to agriculture and the environment, provides a sustainable solution to the problem of hunger, and teaches responsibility and compassion. Katie has created a sustainable healthy solution to hunger from the ground up. What started as a way to empower kids to help in their communities has turned into a way in which those in need can empower themselves. Many of the people who benefit from donations from Katie's Krops work alongside Katie in the gardens. They help to grow the food that they eat while learning how to provide themselves with healthy food.
In 2013 the first Katie's Krops Camp was held with the support of WP Rawl. The Katie's Krops Camp is an immersive growing experience for our young Katie's Krops Growers from across the country. Once a year, over the summer, upwards of 15 young Katie's Krops growers are invited to travel to South Carolina and the farm of WP Rawl, our camp sponsor. During the course of the camp, our growers come together and learn new and creative growing techniques, host a service project, create lasting friendships with fellow growers, receive valuable information on food safety, tour the impressive Rawl farm and so much more. The 3rd Annual Katie's Krops Camp will be held at the end mid July 2015.
All of Katie’s gardens are planted and cared for in an environmentally friendly manner. The gardens use methods such ladybugs to control pest, compost bins to collect waste to turn back into the earth and using recycled materials to build raised bed planters and a greenhouse.
In July of 2011 Katie was appointed to the Youth Advisory Board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board is one of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues. The 20 youth leaders play an integral role in advising and providing a youth perspective to the Alliance as we strive to encourage young people across the nation to make healthy choices. The Alliance was started by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association. She is currently serving her third term.
In March of 2012 Katie was name a Global Teen Leader for 'Three Dot Dash'. Three Dot Dash® is a global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation® designed to recognize and support the efforts of Global Teen Leaders around the world who are actively working on projects that promote a more peaceful society by addressing issues related to basic human needs: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and the environment. Three Dot Dash creates a sustainable worldwide network of individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations to further the efforts of young leaders by harnessing the power of media, mentoring, and social networking to foster public participation around the globe. In September of 2012 Katie became the youngest recipient ever of the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society. The Clinton Global Citizen Awards 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. These are some truly amazing folks. They embody the spirit of CGI and inspire us all to be more responsible citizens of the world.” Katie is now the youngest member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
In May of 2014 Katie was named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Katie has been named a Hasbro Community Action Hero Award in 2013, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, she is a 2010 Sodexo STOP Hunger Scholar, was a 2009 Build a Bear Workshop Huggable Hero, was a distinguished finalist in the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, 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’.
Katie has designed an award winning toothbrush that teaches water conservation by telling you to turn off the water while you brush your teeth and you can save up to 8 gallons of water. The toothbrush is currently for sale under the name ‘Eco-Fly’ which is distributed by Dr. Fresh.
Her outstanding achievements have landed Katie on the pages of People Magazine, USA Today, Better Homes and Gardens Country Gardens, Time for Kids, Weekly Reader to name a few of the national publications. Katie has also been a question on Jeopardy, 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. Her work is featured in the Liberty Museum in Philadelphia.
Currently 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. Katie's first book, 'Katie's Cabbage' was published in December 2014 with University Press. The children's book shares her true story of how a forty-pound cabbage introduced her to the issues of hunger in her community and how she was compelled to follow her heart to grow a healthy solution to hunger.
Touring the country speaking about her dream and youth service has earned Katie the "The Stellar Speaker designation". She has had the honor of speaking to groups as large as 7,000 and was the key note speaker for Global Youth Service Day 2015 at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. In addition to gardening Katie swims on the Pinewood Preparatory Varsity team and runs track for the school as well. She also swims in a summer swim league with her best stroke being back. She is a member of the Beta Club and is a Duke TIP Scholar. Katie loves to write, travel and be with her friends.
To read Katie’s Blog and learn more about Katie’s Krops and how you can help please go to www.KatiesKrops.com.
Huge congratulations to Katie on her long list of amazing achievements, proving that we can all make a big difference to people's lives, doing something we really enjoy! Thanks also to our Global Young Ambassador, Joshua Williams from Joshua's Heart Foundation for bringing Katie and her incredible achievements to our attention.
Image Credits: Katie Stagliano
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Author: Joshua Williams
Source: Joshua's Heart Foundation
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