In an effort to help fight hunger and teach children about community involvement and gardening, The Bright School’s early childhood garden has been designated a Katie’s Krops Garden and the school an official Katie’s Krops Grower, the first in Tennessee.
Katie’s Krops is an organization in South Carolina started by Katie Stagliano, who was 9 years old when she grew a 40-pound cabbage and donated it to a soup kitchen that used it to feed 275 people. She now has a network of more than 100 gardens across the country. Katie is one of the three subjects in the 2014 documentary film The Starfish Throwers, and she was presented a Clinton Global Citizenship Award in 2012.
Katie and her mother, Stacy, visited Bright in the fall and helped students plant seeds in the garden. Katie’s Krops announced its 16 new growers last week after reviewing more than 100 applications. These gardens and growers receive $500 to purchase garden supplies and seeds, and they must document their work. Bright has been donating vegetables grown in the garden to the Signal Mountain Social Services’ food pantry since last spring.
Bright also is receiving funding from the Riverview Garden Club, the school’s Parents’ Association and the Kueter family for the garden. Kindergarten teacher Bill Greene, who oversees the garden, said the funds will be used to purchase fruit trees and add new beds to the garden. “We are expanding the garden in hopes of increasing what we can donate. It is exciting,” Greene said. Shop teacher Richard Parks and fifth graders will build the new beds this spring.