A tiny cabbage seedling changed my life.
More specifically and by the numbers, one seed led to 40 pounds of cabbage, which fed 275 people—which inspired 100 gardens, which donated 39,000 pounds of food, which now feeds thousands of hungry people across the United States.
Food is inspirational like that. I’ve learned that no matter how young you are, you can make a difference in this world, and fighting hunger is one of the most impactful ways to do it.
Did you know that 842 million people – nearly 12 percent of the world’s population – continue to struggle with hunger? And, according to recent estimates, food production will need to increase by 70 percent to feed the world by 2050.
My name is Katie Stagliano, and I’m 20 years old. As the founder of Katie’s Krops, I’m dedicated to empowering today’s youth to grow vegetable gardens in their communities and donate the healthy harvest to people in need.
Ever since I was 9 years old, I’ve had a passion to fight hunger. In 2008, I brought home a small cabbage seed from school as part of my third-grade class program. Eager to grow my seedling, I began tending to it with water and fertilizer each day until it miraculously grew to weigh 40 pounds. Knowing this was a tremendous feat, I decided to donate my giant cabbage to a local soup kitchen where it helped feed 275 people. After witnessing how many people my one cabbage helped to feed, I thought to myself, “I wonder how many people a whole garden could feed?” This was the catalyst and inspiration in founding Katie’s Krops.
Today, Katie’s Krops has more than 100 gardens growing across the country and has donated over 39,000 pounds of fresh produce to people in need. In June 2018, my dream of ending hunger became even more of a reality after being selected as the grand prize winner of the General Mills Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program. The initiative calls on young people to share how they’ve solved issues in their communities, not only to fight hunger but also to reduce food waste or find ways to grow food more sustainably through practices like regenerative agriculture.
With General Mills’ help, I connected with industry leaders to receive counsel and mentorship, in addition to a platform to talk about my organization at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The $50,000 prize will enable me to further expand Katie’s Krops gardens to every state, inspiring more youth to help more communities fight hunger. But I wasn’t the only one recognized for my efforts. Four of my fellow Feeding Better Futures finalists each received $10,000 to further their initiatives and help fight hunger in their respective communities. This includes Kate Indreland, former FFA member who is dedicated to solving the problem of nutrient depletion in farmland via regenerative agriculture.
This winter, General Mills launched the second year of its Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program. From now until Feb. 26, they’re accepting entries from young innovators ages 13-21 across North America. I encourage you to help us solve the food accessibility problems of tomorrow by sharing your solutions today. For more information about the program and how to apply, visit FeedingBetterFutures.com. Like me, the grand prize winner will receive $50,000 to further their program, an industry mentorship and exposure at the prestigious Aspen Ideas Festival.
My story is about big impact that started small, and your seedling of an idea could be next.