I am very excited to share the very first guest blog from a Katie’s Krops Grantee. This garden was started by three very special children in a very special location, Kohen’s Park. I would like to share what they wrote on their grant application. “In 2008, our brother Kohen went to Heaven. We wanted to bring some of the joy Kohen brought to our family to our community. In 2009, we built Kohen’s Park. The park is four acres with a pavilion, basketball court, playground area, sandbox, baseball field and soccer field. There is lots of room for a garden and this is where we would like to make one. We know a lot of people who are in need. It’s sad to see them struggle to have enough food. Our family does a lot at Kohen’s Park to help people. The garden would help us to help them in a very important way. You are doing so much to help others. We would like to be a part of that too.”
It was an honor to provide Hunter, Canyon and Chance with a grant to start a garden to feed those in need in their community. Here are their thoughts on the garden that they are growing in Kohen’s Park using kiddy pools. Thank you Hunter, Canyon and Chance!
Hunter: I like the garden because it can help people. Not all people have enough food.
Canyon: The gardens are looking really good. I like the swimming pools. People were really nice to give us the pools to use. We put holes in the bottom. They are different colors. We spent a lot of time reading about gardens and planting on the computer before we did our shopping.
Chance: Gardens are fun but a lot of work. The planting is hard because you have to know how far in the soil to plant and you have to carry the bags of soil and stuff into the garden. Then you have to mix the topsoil with the manure and put mulch on top to keep the water in the soil so the plants will grow. We got really dirty but our family all worked together and got it all done.
Hunter: I like the new signs we put up. There’s a sign for each thing we planted so we can remember what vegetable it is. There’s also a sign that says that the money for the garden came from Katie’s Krops. I like that other kids in the park come and help us water the gardens when they are there. They like to help.
Canyon: No weeds in the gardens. I like the swimming pools because they really are easier to take care of than gardens planted in the ground. We planted herbs this month. The cabbage plants are starting to roll into a ball and the tomato plants have yellow flowers on them.
Chance: Watering the gardens is a big responsibility. Sometimes we use buckets and mix the miracle grow in the water. Sometimes we use the water hose. I don’t like the water hose because you have to keep it straight for the water to come out.
When you start a new school year, it is like a new adventure. Who will your teachers be? Who will be in your classes? Will you make new friends? As I enter the last month of my 6th grade year I can look back and on those questions and say, my 6th grade year has been wonderful in large part due to a teacher, a friend, who has become a large part of the Katie’s Krops family. Her name is Miss Fuller and she is my 6th grade science teacher.
Having a science teacher that is an excellent teacher is wonderful but nothing can compare to a teacher who supports you, believes in you and your dreams and guides you. Before I even set a foot in her classroom, Miss Fuller was eager to help. Over the summer, she met with me to find out how she could help and support the garden. Little did I know then, the garden would become our text book and our classroom.
We began the school year with a unit on soil, a perfect introduction to the garden. We started off testing soil for ‘real life applications’ (we would be planting in the soil we tested & the harvest would be donated to those in need in our community) and making trips to the garden to work. As we worked together ideas started to grow and before we knew it the entire 6th grade was undertaking a huge school & community wide composting project to help boost the harvest from the gardens by improving the soil with compost, the waste the school would normally toss in the trash.
That was only the beginning. Just like my gardens, it grew into so much more. It turned into unforgettable experiences.
Who would have ever thought that you would ride in a cop car or chip old Christmas trees with your science teacher? Well that’s exactly what we did. We collected 58 Christmas trees to compost for the gardens. To compost the trees, we needed to chip them. We called a parent at the school with a tree removal business and asked if he could come help us chip 58 trees. Everything was set in place and a couple days before the trees were to be chipped, we noticed the pile had shrunk. We had rearranged the trees to count them; maybe that’s why they looked different. Then we counted them, 39. WHAT??? Where had all our trees gone??? That was it; Miss Fuller and I called the cops. When they finally arrived they looked at us like “What? You called us over here because someone stole Christmas trees, after Christmas?” Most teachers would have looked at me like “Seriously? You want to call the police about stolen Christmas trees?” But not Miss Fuller, she believed in me and said, “We are calling.” Miss Fuller showed me that there is value in your hard work and you should not let anyone take anything from you (no matter how obscure). It was Miss Fuller’s and my first (& last!!!) ride in a cop car. It really brought out the investigators in us. Finally it was time to chip the 39 trees into mulch, with wax earplugs in we watched our collection of trees, minus the stolen ones, sucked into the giant wood chipper. Another first for both of us.
When I learned that our local homeless shelter that had been closed for months would be opening to serve dinners if someone would provide, cook and serve the meal I immediately signed up. Who was right there with me to organize the dinners, Miss Fuller. Since our first dinner in October we have worked together to provide healthy well balance meals to families in need in our community.
Our science classroom became a greenhouse this year and at times even a film studio. Miss Fuller was there to support, encourage and believe in my dream to providing healthy fresh food to people who are in need.
Miss Fuller has taught me that when someone believes in you, believes in your dreams, there is nothing you can’t do. I hope everyone has a teacher like Miss Fuller sometime in their life because everyone deserves a teacher as great as she is.
The Magic of Healthy Living! The Weekend!-
Last weekend I had the honor of participating in an amazing event with Disney. If you watch you know what The Magic of Healthy Living is. For those who don’t The Magic of Healthy Living is a new initiative by Disney to encourage by eating healthy and exercising. Disney recently held an essay contest about kids own fun ideas for leading healthier lifestyles at home, in school and in their communities. The fifty winners of this contest received a trip to Disney where they participated in a TRY-athlon with these activities:
The winners didn’t do all these activates alone though. Disney Channel starts Allison Stoner, Daniel Curtis Lee, , Caroline Sunshine, and Kenton Duty, NFL football players Barrett Ruud, Mark Herzlich, and Darrell Green as well as all of your favorite Disney characters. And oh there was…Me. From the opening ceremony to the closing, this weekend was full of fun! I spoke during the opening ceremony, telling about Katie’s Krops. Then I planted the “Garden of Possibilities”, the Italian pizza garden. It was so much fun! And the planter; in the shape of a pizza slice! We planted tomatoes, basil, peppers and much more! It was great talking and connecting to the kids too. I even met two kids from South Carolina!
While I was at Disney, I realized that when I started Katie’s Krops, I wanted to provide fresh, healthy vegetables to people in need, but what I didn’t realized was that while doing that I would be exercising and introducing myself to new healthy vegetables!
One of my favorite restaurants of all time is in Disney. The restaurant called The Garden Grill in the Land, serves fresh healthy vegetables from Living with the Land, a ride that shows you all the cool new ways to grow vegetables. The dinner, amazing! They make , baked, and they rocked! Disney has so many amazing restaurants that serve healthy, delicious food.
Thank you Disney for allowing me to be a part of such a special event! I have so many new and wonderful ideas for Katie’s Krops: new recipes, new garden ideas and new friends to create the magic of healthy living with!
I was very happy to see how many people shared my dream! So many kids realized how real hunger is and want to help solve this world problem. When I asked kids why they wanted to receive a grant I received answers like, “When I went to the grocery store with my mom, I realized that the cost of junk food was less than the cost of fresh produce” and “My friends tell me that sometimes the only time they eat is at school” and “If I could grow a vegetable garden and have other kids help me it can not only feed people in need but also teach other children a skill they can use in their lives.” Having applied for many grants before, I know the disapointment of not receiving one. I do not want to disappoint anyone if they did not receive a grant, but that is not because I think your dream is not amazing. As I said before, I would love to fund all two hundred grants, but I am not able to. I think every single applicant shares the same incredible dream and just because I am unable to fund you, doesn’t mean you should give up your dream. There are other amazing organizations out there that share the same dream as we do. I started with nothing, but with determination and will power I am now not only living my dream, but I am helping others do so too. Next year, I hope to give out twice the amount of grants I gave out this year.Now I am motivated more than ever to raise funds to achieve that goal! Again thank you to all of the applicants, I think your dreams are amazing.