If you read the last “New Addition” Blog then you know all about the new column. If you haven’t…totally go read the “New Addition” blog.
Here is the first column….it has gone out to about a 10,000 people readership.
Community gardens feeding the homeless
About five or 6 years ago, a 9-year-old elementary school student named Katie Stagliano was given a tiny cabbage seedling by her teacher so that she could grow a cabbage at home. With a lot of love and a great deal of care, she grew that seed into a 40 pound cabbage – enormous by any standard. Katie didn’t know what to do with this huge cabbage so she decided to donate her supper cabbage to her local soup kitchen where it helped to feed more than 275 people. Moved by the experience of seeing how many people could benefit from the donation of fresh produce to soup kitchens, Katie decided to start vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need. Today, Katie owns a company called Katie’s Krops that donates thousands of pounds of fresh produce from numerous gardens to organizations that help people in need. Katie is 14, a high school student, and the proud owner of Katie’s Krops.
When I read this story I was amazed! First by the gargantuan size cabbage Katie grew; and second, by the fact that these fruits and vegetables could feed so many people. Plus, this wasn’t just donated food; this was FRESH ORGANIC veggies straight out of the garden. You can’t get much better food than that. My amazement waned with time and I forgot about Katie and Katie’s Krops till I was wandering through a wonderful park that the locals call “Turtle Park” but is actually named George C. McGough Nature Park. At the end of the beautifull scenic nature trail that winds through the majestic woodlands, scrub brush, pine trees, and the intercostal waterway; you end up at a park where the young and young-at-heart can play. Right across from this play park is a fenced piece of land divvied up into rectangular plots. There’s a brightly decorated rain barrel, tools, and a menagerie of fresh vegetables and foliage. This is the “Turtle Park” community gardens. The thing that was the most interesting was that many of the plots were not being used. Suddenly, I remembered Katie. Those unused plots could be used to produce fresh vegetables for people who have no food. Imagine, if one cabbage could feed 275 people, 5 plots (the number that were vacant when I was walking by) of cabbages could feed thousands.
If you’re interested in gardening, want to help feed the hungry, and just generally want to help the world become a better place; these community gardens are just the place to start. With a quick Google search you will find that there are multiple community gardens in your area. In fact, Clearwater, Dunedin, Largo, and St. Pete all have their own community garden clubs. But what if you don’t want to have to get out of your house, or even borrow a plot from a park – then you can build a garden yourself.
Once you have the veggies, then what? Go out and find soup kitchen and food banks that are looking for food donations. Pinellas Hope (formerly known as Tent City) in Pinellas Park, St. Vincent de Paul, RCS (Religious Community Services) Food Bank in Clearwater, and FEAST in Palm Harbor are just a few places that are happy to accept fresh vegetable and fruit donations. So whether you’re growing veggies in your back yard or in a community garden, your veggies can feed hundreds if not thousands, and all you have to do is feed your gardening hobby.
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