A Green Thumb and A Full Heart: Iowa Teen Donates 7,000 Pounds of Veggies

Nov 20, 2023

Thought Question: Imagine starting a garden and being able to grow your own vegetables. What kinds of vegetables would you choose to grow, and why?

Seventeen-year-old Lauren Schroeder of Dixon, Iowa, is no stranger to vegetables. She’s worked on her parents’ farm since she was little, helping raise and harvest soybeans and corn on their 150-acre plot. Surrounded by veggies every day, it’s no wonder she noticed their absence when she volunteered at a local food bank.

“I thought it would be great to change that,” Lauren told The Washington Post, commenting on all the canned and boxed products they stuffed into bags for needy families. There wasn’t a single fresh veggie in sight. 

“I wanted people to get the nutrition they needed from fresh vegetables,” she added.

In the spring of 2022, Lauren set aside a half-acre of land for a vegetable garden. Then she hit the books.

“I did a lot of research online to find out what worked and what didn’t, what plants needed shade, which ones needed more water and when the best time was to harvest each crop,” Lauren told the Post.

After securing a grant from the National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Organization, Lauren planted 15 different crops. She learned how to tend each. And she found out that some are trickier than others.

“I didn’t realize how much bending was required for green beans,” Lauren said.

Despite the challenges, Lauren’s green thumb won out. To date, she’s donated more than 7,000 pounds of fresh vegetables from her garden to local shelters. She has no plans to stop any time soon, either.

“I haven’t planted radishes yet, so that’s on the list for next time,” she told the Post. “And I’m hoping to expand the garden to two acres so we can feed even more people.”

Photo from Unsplash courtesy of Shelley Pauls.

The story is mostly about _______. (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. Lauren's experiences working on her parents' farm
b. Lauren's journey in starting her own vegetable garden
c. Lauren's efforts to donate fresh vegetables to people in need
d. Lauren's future plans to study agriculture in college
For more formative assessments, visit thejuicelearning.com to start a free trial.

News brought to you by The Juice

Start a free trial today