Emily Shipman – Executive Director

I drink a lot of tea, especially in the colder months. This time a year ago I was warming myself with a cup in my converted schoolhouse in Vermont and happened upon a quote that has stuck with me since. The tag on the tea bag read, “Gratitude is an open door to abundance.”

The words gratitude and abundance have taken on a special meaning to me. For years I worked in developing countries with poor smallholder farmers. These farmers often struggled to feed their families on the income generated from their crops. Running water was uncommon and indoor plumbing unheard of.

I also spent a number of years working for our state’s food bank. Even here in Vermont, one in four struggles with hunger.

Returning home to a warm house, a loving family, and food on the table after weeks in the field in rural East Africa, it’s easy to feel gratitude for the comforts I am afforded.

But less obvious and equally important is the gratitude I feel for the work itself. Over the last 14 years, I have had the opportunity to spend countless hours connecting people in need with generous folks who support them. To me, this is abundance.

Three months ago, I joined KidsGardening. In doing so I became a part of a web of passionate change-makers who understand the urgent issues facing our children and the power of garden-based learning to reverse these trends. They know that nearly 18% of all children in the United States are obese. And they understand the long-term implications of the fact that in the U.S. tweens spend, on average, only 12 minutes a day in vigorous physical activity outdoors.

My colleagues and I here at KG are committed to ensuring that we get more kids learning through the garden because studies find that—among the many benefits of garden-based learning—time spent outdoors reduces health problems in children. We also know through data and our own experience that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables or express a preference for these foods.

The holidays are upon us and it’s the time of year when we celebrate human connections and express gratitude for the ones we love. As we bring 2016 to a close, I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the KidsGardening community to grow happier, healthier, more connected kids.

Thank you for being a part of this community.

With gratitude,





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