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How Does Your Garden Grow?

After visiting a local food bank on a school trip, I was surprised to see the limited fresh produce options for families utilizing area food banks.

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I know shelf-stable items are easier for the average person to donate during a food drive, and more practical for food pantries to store. But I also know how important fresh fruit and vegetables are to a healthy diet!

I decided I wanted to make a difference in my community in the fight for food justice.

My interest in gardening was peaked when I read about Katie’s Krops, a non-profit organization that encourages youth to grow vegetables and fruit to feed the hungry in their communities.

Katie’s Krops offers grants for youth ages 9-16. I applied for a grant last summer and was honored and excited to be selected.

Last summer, I grew my first vegetable garden and donated the crops to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

It felt great to do my part to help the Foodbank provide more fresh food. I enjoyed the whole experience so much that applied this year for another grant from Katie’s Krops.

I encourage all kids interested in making a difference in their community to apply for a Katie’s Krops grant.

You don’t have to be a gardening expert to make an impact.
Last year, I was new to gardening, so I read and researched online for gardening tips and ideas.

I discovered which vegetables grow best in the Midwest and developed a plan for planting a simple raised-bed vegetable garden. I even watched videos online so I knew just how to plant my first garden.

Katie’s Krops provided me with the funding to purchase supplies to build my raised garden bed, plus gardening tools, plants and seeds.

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Gardening has taught me a lot. As I waited for my vegetables to grow, I learned some valuable lessons about patience and persistence.

Daily watering of the garden taught me responsibility, and I developed a true appreciation for rain.

When rabbits, birds and squirrels began nibbling in my garden, I learned how to deal positively with frustration. This also taught me to think quickly to solve problems.

I purchased netting and a small fence to surround and cover the vegetable garden. The satisfaction of overcoming obstacles was a reward in itself.

The best part of my gardening experience is that I get to give back to the community while hooking my entire family into gardening.

I encourage all youth to apply for a Katie’s Krops grant and plant a vegetable garden to help fight hunger in their communities.

By Sophie Bernstein

Clayton High School student and recipient of Katie’s Krops grant

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