TORONTO — This year’s CPMA convention offered some lucky fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Freggie’s Children’s Program the opportunity not only to learn about fruits and vegetables, but also how to grow a dream, courtesy of special guest Katie Stagliano.
Ms. Stagliano’s visit to the convention marked her first trip out of the United States, but the poised 14-year-old took it in stride. She appreciated the opportunity to deliver her message.“If you want to make a difference in the world, age shouldn’t be a barrier,” she said.
Her story began when her third-grade teacher decided to teach the class about gardening and sent pupils home with a tiny cabbage seedling. From that small beginning, Ms. Stagliano grew not only a 40-pound cabbage, but also a plan to help children like herself turn a love of gardening into a way to help less fortunate people.
The giant cabbage was donated to a soup kitchen and Ms. Stagliano was amazed to discover she had helped feed 275 people.
In her speech at the convention, posted on a blog on the CPMA convention site, she said, “Five years later my dream has grown into a not-for-profit Katie’s Krops. The mission of Katie’s Krops is to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes and donate the harvest to help feed people in need as well as to assist and inspire others to do the same. My dream took root in my backyard but has now grown across the United States.”
She was very pleased to bring her dream to Canada. Ms. Stagliano’s time at the convention included a stroll around the trade show, and, with a warm smile, the teenager said she enjoyed all the colorful exhibits and being able to try different fruits and vegetables.
She’s also excited about Katie’s Camp, a new program Katie’s Krops is introducing in South Carolina this July. Sponsored by W.P. Rawl, the camp will teach skills like new growing techniques, garden photography and budgeting. The campers will also have the opportunity to help make a healthy fresh meal for families in need.
Ms. Stagliano noted she’s been able to accomplish as much as she has because of the support of her family, friends and teachers. Katie’s Krops is the result of everyone coming together to support a great idea. Her final message for the children at the convention was based on similar values.
“If there’s a cause they believe in, they should follow their hearts and make a difference.”