“Even if you don’t realize it at the time, you are making a difference.”
Those are the words spoken by Katie Stagliano, a spirited 9-year-old who developed an interest in gardening after participating in a school project for the third grade. As if by fate, Stagliano harvested a giant 40-pound cabbage during that project. So she decided to donate her new harvest to a soup kitchen, where it helped feed 275 people.
But after realizing how many people she fed with a single piece of produce, she decided to see how many people an entire garden could feed.
With plans on tripling the size of her crops, Stagliano began a search for some land. And the Pinewood Prep Elementary school ended up donating a football-field-sized plot of land, giving Katie’s Krops its new home.
Now most times projects like this are short lived. As the younger generations enter their teen years, interests begin to change. And one might surmise that Stagliano’s new venture eventually ended.
But fast forward seven years later, and you will find that Stagliano (now a high school sophomore) continued to leave her Footprint in history.
Her garden currently supplies about 3,000 pounds of produce annually to Tricounty Family Ministries in North Charleston, to the Summerville Baptist Church, and directly to other families in need.
And with the help of their website, Katie’s Krops has raised over $200,000, enabling 9-to-16-year-olds to grow vegetables in their own community that feed those who need it most.
“It is great to see inspired teens who value the hard work and achievements that help them become good citizens later in life,” Stagliano explains.
As her story spreads, a growing number of pre-teens are following in her footsteps. To-date there are approximately 80 youth-run gardens in 29 states, mostly all inspired by Stagliano. She even caught the attention of the University of South Carolina Press, who created the video below that shares a bit more about her journey.
In an interview, Stagliano sums up her “school project to business enterprise” very nicely. She said her dream came from realizing how families in need could be, “just like my family. For all I know they could be my family who’ve fallen on hard times.”
We wish Katie the best for continued success, and applaud her efforts towards “making a difference” for a better tomorrow. If you would like to read more about Katie’s story or donate to her cause, we invite you to check out their website at KatiesKrops.com.