Youth gardens for others

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Shelby Simpson is looking forward to watching her garden grow. She used the raised bed for her carrot crop.

How does your garden grow? It is a question Shelby Simpson, 11, of Manila, has researched and is pleased to be able to put her studies into action as she has planted cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and strawberries.

Shelby, a member of the Bookworm 4-H Club of Mississippi County, has a lot of interests including 4-H, piano, drama, and has now added gardening.

Shelby heard about gardening grants available through Katie's Krops and she applied. The grants are available to young people who are willing to not only experience the growing of vegetables but the rewards of sharing the harvest with others. Shelby was one of 31 grantees to receive funding from the non-profit Katie's Krops. This is the fourth consecutive year the 501(c)(3) organization has awarded grants to enable and empower kids to make a difference. Sponsored by Tasteful Selections and BI-LO, this year's grantees not only join a welcoming family of young growers, but are eligible for funding year after year, scholarships, and the opportunity to attend the annual Katie's Krops Camp, sponsored by WP Rawl.

Shelby covered her plants to protect them from rabbits.

Katie's Krops began with a 9 year old girl, Katie Stagliano, and a 40 pound cabbage in 2008. She grew the large cabbage from a seedling brought home from school. The large cabbage was donated to a soup kitchen where it helped feed over 275. That was the beginning of an idea and today Katie's Krops has youth gardens growing across the U.S.

Shelby was excited when she was approved for the $400 grant and received a gift card from Lowe's to purchase what she needed for her gardening venture. She purchased small hand tools, material to build a raised bed for the carrots, seeds and plants, water hose, and other needs.

She also received a digital camera and will be submitting photographs and updates of her garden.

Shelby, daughter of Kyle and Mindy Simpson, has her vegetables planted using a corner of the large, fenced in garden area her parents have planted.

She mixed soil with the compost her parents use in their garden and now has everything planted.

"I have been having trouble with rabbits in my cabbage so I am covering my cabbage plants with plastic covers at night," she said. "I found five baby rabbits in my garden. I will have to carefully move them when they get a little bigger."

So far Shelby has enjoyed working in the soil. Her dad built the raised bed and Shelby placed it near the garden area planting carrots.

Shelby plans to give her vegetables to senior citizens.

"We are so excited to have 31 new grantees join our mission to provide a sustainable solution to the problem of hunger. We really strive to introduce kids to agriculture and the environment, while teaching responsibility and compassion," Katie Stagiano, Founder of Katie's krops said.

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