In my book Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow, I explore seven key actions critical for organization success: Clarify, Commit, Collaborate, Connect, Compete, Communicate, and Contribute. But there’s one more “C” that is equally important and that is Courage, though, perhaps it should be Cabbage in honor of a little girl, a big idea, and a 40-pound cruciferous vegetable.
Katie Stagliano was nine years old when she brought a cabbage seedling home from a third grade extracurricular program. At the time, Katie recalls, she didn’t expect the assignment to be a turning point in her life, just a fun thing to do. She planted, watered, fertilized and nurtured her plant, even enlisting her grandfather to help her build a protective fence – or “cabbage cage” – around it when deer were spotted grazing in the area. Katie’s cabbage grew to an astounding forty pounds, almost as big as she was at the time.
Knowing she had something very special on her hands, Katie thought about what she should do with the cabbage. “My dad said not to take anything for granted and that there were lots of people without any food who had to go to soup kitchens.” Katie barely knew what a soup kitchen was, let alone that there were any in her town. But after she and her mom contacted several facilities, they found one that was thrilled for the donation of Katie’s cabbage. To the little girl’s amazement, that one cabbage fed more than 275 people in the form of cabbage soup.
She saw firsthand how many people relied on soup kitchens for what might be their only hot meal of the day, if not their only meal. Realizing how many people she could help with her homegrown donations, Katie planted more gardens and began donating her harvests, via dubbed KatiesKrops.com, to people in need.
Today, Katie is fourteen, oversees more than 50 gardens and has donated thousands of pounds of fresh produce to help feed the hungry. Katie has inspired hundreds of kids across the country to apply for grants so they can start gardens of their own, which are springing up in backyards and on rooftops, in vacant lots and behind libraries. Katie has even been honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award for visionary leadership. Her cause – and her courage – are still growing strong. And if that’s what one little girl working in a garden can do, imagine what you can do with all the resources at your disposal to make a difference in the world!