Any age'll do - This 14-year-old girl wants to feed the world, and just may
By Olivia Evans

When Katie Stagliano grew her first cabbage at age 9, she never expected that cabbage would one day lead her to become the youngest-ever winner of the Clinton Global Citizen award.

It all started when Katie was in third grade. Her class took part in a Bonnie Plants program, where each student received one cabbage seed to grow at home. After a season of carefully tending to her seedling, eventually it grew to be a 40 pound cabbage. At first, Katie wasn’t quite sure what one did with a 40 pound cabbage. But then, the thought occurred to her, why not donate it to a soup kitchen? From there, something bigger than Katie could have ever imagined sprouted.

The cabbage went on to feed over 275 hungry people. Inspired, Katie decided to grow more vegetables in her backyard. Soon, Katie’s garden began to overflow with plants. She was going to need more space. So, her school, Pinewood Prep, helped her start a vegetable garden the size of a football field.

After some time watering, fertilizing, and pulling weeds from the garden, Katie realized that her garden could grow into something even bigger than it already was. So, like any average 13-year-old would do, Katie started her own 501(c)3 non-profit—Katie’s Krops—to feed the hungry and grow community gardens in all 50 states.

Today, Katie’s Krops has managed to implement 60 gardens in 26 states. Last year, 24 grants were given to kids around the country so that they could start up their own gardens too. These numbers are impressive. But it was the testimonials, ultimately, that really touched us:

Kaelin, age 15, Indiana—"I live in a very small community of only 900 people. There are many underemployed, unemployed and elderly persons in our community. There are no grocery stores, no gas stations and no retail stores in the community. To get to the nearest grocery that sells fresh vegetables is more than a 40 minute round trip. This would be one of the best things that ever happened here. To be able to feed people in need fresh vegetables without making them feel 'needy' will fill their stomachs and warm their hearts.”

As if supporting girls like Kaelin wasn’t already a feat, Katie’s Krops does even more than start community gardens. Dinners to feed the hungry are hosted every month. Katie’s Krops kale and collard greens are sold in grocery stores to help raise money for good causes. There is even a Katie’s Krops summer camp.

Think you’d like to start your own community garden? Apply for a Katie’s Krops grant next year. Want to learn more about Katie’s Krops? Check out her website, and see Katie’s latest secrets on gardening tips and recipes for kids.

In the words of Katie herself: “It doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 99. Age is just a number.”

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