Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Pantry Garden

Isabella, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Virginia Beach, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Isabella noticed that the majority of local food pantries exclusively distribute nonperishable food items, causing people with food insecurity to not receive all the nutrients that are key to a healthy diet. For her project, Isabella built six raised garden beds at Church of the Ascension in order to provide a sustainable way for fresh vegetables to be distributed from the food pantry at the church. She also recruited a group of volunteers to help maintain the garden.

“I wanted to provide fresh, organically-grown produce as a supplement to provide additional nutrients for those seeking assistance,” Isabella said. “I also wanted to create a ministry where everyone could help out, including young families and teens.”

Each month, the food pantry at Church of the Ascension serves more than 1,000 clients. Through her project, Isabella harvested 400 pounds of food that was distributed during her garden’s first season. With the help of the garden volunteers, there are plans to expand the garden by building additional raised garden beds to yield more crops.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Isabella to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.