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Katie Stagliano

Growing dreams

Katie’s dream of helping the hungry all started with a little cabbage seed. That seed grew to over 40 pounds and helped her feed 275 people. Her dream grew even bigger when she won the Amazing Kids “Launch My Dream” project, which has inspired her to create her dream of “No Hungry Children.” Read her interview to see how something so big can start from something so small.

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How old are you?

I am 11 years old.

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What grade are you in?

I am in fifth grade.

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Where are you from?

I am from Summerville, South Carolina.

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What inspired you to start gardening?

What inspired me to start gardening was the 40 pound cabbage I grew and donated to a soup kitchen! Once I saw how many people my cabbage fed, I wanted to do even more, so I started vegetable gardens to help feed people in need.

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Tell us about the 40 pound cabbage that you grew in your backyard.

Katie StaglianoIn third grade I received a tiny little cabbage seedling from the Bonnie Plants third grade cabbage program. I planted it in my backyard garden that was then really small and only for my family. I watered it and fed it with Miracle Gro. It just kept growing and growing unbelievably fast. When I heard there were deer in the neighborhood I called my grandfather, Opa, and he helped me build a sturdy, deer-proof cage that kept my cabbage nice and safe. Finally, in May of 2008, the cabbage was ready. My mom contacted Fields to Families and they recommended we donate it to Tri County Family Ministries. We hauled my huge cabbage up to Tri County Family Ministries, a soup kitchen in North Charleston, South Carolina, and everyone was so nice and appreciated it. We came back on a Friday and I served my now cooked cabbage to over 275 people. That is how it all started!

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What did it feel like to help those in need?

It felt so amazing to feed and help that many people. I didn’t think a cabbage could change my life, but it did. It made me see how simple and fun it is to garden. I knew I wanted to do more to help all of those people who were struggling to eat so I started vegetable gardens. I now have 5 gardens and the harvest is donated to people in need in my community. I have helped to feed hundreds and hundreds of people now and my gardens are growing bigger and bigger. This fall I should be able to donate over a thousand pounds of healthy food to people in need.

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It’s great that you’re donating healthy food. What’s your favorite vegetable?

I love to eat lots of vegetables such as green beans, carrots, broccoli, and lettuce. My favorite vegetable to grow would have to be cabbage.

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Tell us about winning the “Launch My Dream” t-shirt design contest from Amazing Kids.

My mom found the “Launch My Dream” contest and suggested that I enter. I worked very hard creating my design and slogan which was “No hungry children…it only takes a seedling.” When I found out I had won the first ever Amazing Kids "Launch My Dream" t-shirt design contest, I was thrilled! I could now promote my dream. My shirts are for sale and I get 10 percent of the sales donated to me to help with my gardens. Ms. Alyse from Amazing Kids has been really nice and super helpful and so has Ms. Meri from VeryMeri, which is the company that makes the shirts. I wear my shirt with pride.

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What is Fields to Families and do you have future plans to get more kids involved with this organization?

Fields to Families works in South Carolina. They get crops of fruits and vegetables from farmers and community gardeners and then distribute them to agencies such as Meals on Wheels, local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and churches. Then those people donate the food to the hungry.

They have supported me by helping me find a master gardener to work with. I support them and they support me.

My classmates and friends have helped me with my gardens and we are all working toward the same goal.

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Besides gardening, what activities do you like to do to stay active and healthy?

I love to swim. I swim on a summer swim team. I also play tennis (I played for my school last year). This summer I did my very first triathlon and loved it. I will be doing many more. Besides sports I love to write and spend time with my friends and family.

Content last reviewed February 01, 2010
Page last updated February 01, 2010

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.