“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off the goal.” — E. Joseph Cossman
I could write pages about the obstacles, small and large, that I have faced in the three-plus years of growing Katie’s Krops gardens. There is the disease that killed all my tomato plants two years ago and the drought that took its toll on all of our crops. I could also tell you about deer, rabbits, cabbageworms, and those pesky snails. Without these obstacles throwing unexpected turns on my road, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have learned important life lessons.
When my local soup kitchen announced it was closing, it was a crushing blow to our community and the families in need. They had nowhere to eat a healthy meal. I had to find a way to serve these families a meal based on the harvest from our gardens. Not everyone would be open to a young teen and her friends cooking dinners and providing an open invitation to anyone in the community.
But I didn’t need everyone -- I needed just one organization to say yes. I had to persevere for the families that were struggling to provide for themselves. It didn’t happen overnight, but we found an organization willing to help: the Summerville Baptist Church. Now on the third Thursday of every month, we harvest and cook a healthy, fresh, hot meal, and everyone is welcome to eat free of charge.
Out of my control
Nature is a force that cannot be controlled. I can’t make veggies rain from the sky like in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. And I can’t control the drought that’s plagued South Carolina. When I first started Katie's Krops, my state was experiencing a severe drought, and to this day we still remain in a moderate drought. The landscape of the state included empty lakes with dead fish, cracked earth, and dying trees, shrubs, and grass — not the best time to start an organization dedicated to growing gardens.
But I didn’t let the drought stop me. I researched water conservation, found out what plants were drought tolerant, and learned what time of day was best to water to prevent evaporation. I invested in rain barrels. Along the way, I even created a toothbrush that taught kids to conserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth. I learned not to focus on what was out of my control. I learned to work with what I could control.
Strength isn’t just a test of how many bags of potting soil you can lift at once. Strength is what carries you on when obstacles present themselves. Where does my strength come from? That’s easy. My strength comes from the people I help. The people Katie’s Krops assists are facing some of life’s greatest challenges — illness, homelessness, extended unemployment, and hunger. A hug from someone I help renews my strength. I’ll admit I’m not a wunderkind. I don’t do this alone. I have an amazing support team, the Katie's Krops Crew. Together there isn’t anything we can’t do.