By Katie Stagliano
“What makes Katie’s Krops unique is that there is a synergy of helping those in need with food grown from your crops -- along with the underlying emphasis on growing personal relationships. What you’re doing for people far exceeds their body’s need for nourishment. You also supply nourishment for their souls.”
-- Adam, Katie’s Krops volunteer
Worldwide there are many organizations trying to eliminate hunger. So what makes Katie’s Krops unique? Is it the way we tackle the problem? Is it the age of those fighting to end hunger? Is it what unexpectedly grows in our gardens? It is all of the above, and so much more.
How do we fight hunger at Katie’s Krops? One vegetable garden at a time. Our solution to a global problem is rooted in the earth. Our solution grows at schools, in backyards, and at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.
While most emergency food programs provide processed and packaged foods, Katie’s Krops offers fresh, healthy produce grown from organic vegetable gardens. We harvest and donate food at the peak of nutrition to ensure it is at its healthiest. We literally are growing a healthy solution to hunger.
Who is growing Katie’s Krops? Katie’s Krops is a youth-run organization. It started with a 40-pound cabbage that I cultivated in my backyard as a 9 year old. I donated my enormous cabbage to a soup kitchen where it helped feed 275 people.
After witnessing all those people waiting for what might have been their only meal of the day, I wanted to continue to help them. The people in line that day were just like me, my brother, my family. I’m now 14 years old, and I still believe that kids can grow an end to hunger. Katie’s Krops now has more than 55 vegetable gardens growing in more than 20 states across the country. The growers are youths, 9 to 16 years old, who are turning unused land into vegetable gardens to feed those in need.
How do we empower our young growers? We award grants to kids across the United States. Our grants provide funds to start gardens, a camera to document their efforts, and support from Katie’s Krops. I have always wanted Katie’s Krops to be part of a sustainable solution to hunger, and for that reason, every grantee is eligible for funding to continue their garden beyond the first growing season.
What else grows in our gardens? Much more than just healthy food. Our gardens become outdoor classrooms where our grantees and volunteers learn agriculture, science, and nutrition. We gain an understanding of fiscal responsibility and a true appreciation for our environment. We learn to be kind to the Earth so it will continue to provide for us. What is harvested from our gardens fills our bushel baskets as well as our hearts.
Katie’s Krops gets to the root of the problem of hunger, one seed, one youth-led garden, one harvest at a time. What started as a way to nourish the body has a turned into a way to nourish our hearts and souls.