Have you ever heard of Zinnia Weybright? I hadn’t until last month. She has a huge fan club in her hometown of Santa Monica, California. Zinnia is an eleven year old committed to growing community through the garden.
Every Sunday since 2012, Zinnia has spent a few hours working in her local community garden to provide fresh, healthy, local produce to the city’s homeless through donations to food shelves and meal sites.
That’s right – at the ripe old age of six Zinnia joined the Harvesting and Cleaning Crew at the Ocean View Farms Community Garden in Santa Monica in order to pick and prep produce and flowers for those less fortunate. Recipients of the produce say that they look forward to receiving the donations from Zinnia each week because they can tell she has prepared the food with care and love.
Zinnia is special, no doubt about that. Yet many young people who garden are also more inclined to community service. In fact, sixty-nine percent of the educators KidsGardening works with report an increase in the community spirit of their students as a result of engaging in garden-based learning. If that’s not a reason to get more kids learning through the garden, I don’t know what is.
It was an honor to meet Zinnia last month and present her with a 2017 Give Back to Grow Award. I am certain this is probably just one of the many awards this vibrant young leader will receive in her lifetime. And I so look forward to hearing about the many ways she’ll continue to make the world a better place through gardening.
The Give Back to Grow Award is awarded annually to youth who show a keen interest in gardening and community spirit. The Award is part of the Scott’s Miracle Gro’s Gro1000 program. The Gro1000 program is founded on the premise that “When people come together in a garden, or gather on a green space, something good happens: the world and their place in it becomes more amazing, more special, more powerful. With urban and economic development at an all-time high, we desperately need to protect and grow our collective connection to nature, to the environment and to each other.”