Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gold Award spotlight: Girl Scout's garden helps families in need

While volunteering at St. Winifred’s Food Pantry, Ambassador Girl Scout Kaitlyn Burkhart noticed a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. That gave her an idea that grew into her Gold Award project–a community garden dedicated to supporting the food pantry.

“With the rising prices of food, especially produce, many stores are unwilling to donate fresh produce to food pantries,” Kaitlyn explains. “I want to give families something other than canned vegetables.”

She worked with food pantry staff and volunteers to build a community garden, called the Common Ground Garden, to meet the needs of the growing number of families who depend upon the food pantry. More than 550 families rely on the pantry each year for food and other necessities.
Kaitlyn Burkhart

Kaitlyn’s team included members of her church and high school, who volunteered their time to make garden stakes and prepare the garden. She also worked closely with her grandfather, who gave her his unused garden plot and provided her garden with water.

After more than 87 hours of planning, planting and nurturing, Kaitlyn’s garden provided almost 200 pounds of fresh vegetables last summer. She grew green and yellow peppers, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini and cucumbers. Kaitlyn also created a cookbook for the food pantry families featuring the vegetables grown in the garden.

As part of every Gold Award project, Girl Scouts are required to look at how their project can be sustained over time. Kaitlyn’s leadership skills ensured that the garden will continue to grow with care from her high school’s garden club and church volunteers, as well as provide families with delicious, affordable ways to prepare fresh vegetables.

Kaitlyn is the daughter of Wendy and Scott Burkhart, of Pittsburgh. She is a senior at Keystone Oaks High School.

Common Ground Garden
More information about the Girl Scout Gold Award is available at Learn about the Gold Award's 100th anniversary at