From the Beginning...
So many people face hunger in our world. Children go to bed hungry. Parents worry that they can't provide for their children. Families must choose whether to buy groceries or pay the electricity bill. The pandemic made these situations even more critical. According to the USDA, there were a reported 38.3 million food-insecure people in the USA in 2020, with over 1.1 million in NJ, one-third of them children.
Personally, the story of hunger runs very deep. Allie's great grandmother lived through a famine in Lebanon and lost two of her children to disease and starvation. Allie remembers hearing stories of the horrors her grandmother's older siblings endured. As such, it has always been her longing to ensure that every child has access to a healthy meal. Until now, she wasn't sure just how to accomplish that goal. Recently, Allie had the opportunity to write a feature on Katie Stagliano of Katie's Krops. What an inspiration! With what started as a cabbage seedling, young Katie sparked a movement. She grew crops and donated them to food banks near her home in South Carolina. Over the years, Katie looked for more ways to help her neighbors in need. She soon set up Katie's Krops Growers to provide gardening grants to growers and inspire kids around the country to follow in her footsteps. Katie has expanded even further, now with a monthly Katie's Krops Garden-to-Table dinner.
In March 2022, our troop of 20 Girl Scouts began to transform 10 tired garden beds at our school into organic giving gardens. Unfortunately, the soil was not healthy enough to sustain our harvest, and the beds—that had reached the end of their lifespan—were bringing unwelcome critters. We were able to salvage the remainder of the growing season and everything we were able to harvest was donated to Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children, in Paterson, NJ.
2023 ushered in a new beginning. With the support of No Child Goes Hungry and The Starfish Foundation, we purchased 10 gorgeous cedar beds from Boldly Growing. And with the support of our HSA and donations from local stores, we filled those beds with healthy, organic soil. But none of it would've come together without helping hands. Girl Scouts from Kindergarten through 8th grade, plus Boy Scouts and friends dug in to assemble the beds, fill them with soil and seedlings, and harvest gorgeous produce. We are grateful! Since our first harvest in early July 2023, we've donated close to 500 pounds of produce to Oasis.
Our Next Steps:
We're building off of the success of our initial garden, and expanding our outreach. A second garden is currently in the works! A true community garden in the heart of Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, this 410-square foot garden will welcome all members of the community in our effort to fight food insecurity. As always, everything we grow and harvest will be donated to a local food shelter.
Interested in starting your own feeding garden? Become a Hungry Harvest Partner Garden.