High School Student Grows 7,000 Pounds Of Vegetables, Then Gives It All Away

November 16, 2023

Today's good news story comes from Wheatland, Iowa.

In the heart of Calamus-Wheatland High School, 16-year-old Lauren Schrader is sowing the seeds of compassion and generosity.

Hailing from a long line of Schrader FFA (Future Farmers of America) members, Lauren is making a significant impact on her community by growing fresh produce on her family's farm and donating it to local non-profit organizations in Eastern Iowa.

In under two years, she has donated an impressive 7,000 pounds of produce.

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Lauren Schroeder / Credit: Cal-Wheat FFA YouTube

Lauren's journey as a philanthropic gardener began during a food drive amid the challenges of the Covid pandemic. Observing a scarcity of fresh produce for community members in need, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

With the support of her family, Lauren transformed a half-acre of land into her own garden during her sophomore year. Thanks to a grant from Future Farmers of America, she expanded her garden to a full acre, complete with protective fencing to shield the crops from pests. The garden boasts a diverse array of over 20 types of produce, ranging from tomatoes and potatoes to peppers, squash, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, and various herbs.

"I wanted to have something that would impact people and not just go show cattle," she told KWQC. "I want to impact community members. Many people help you out, but it makes more of a difference when you help other people out. That’s what makes me most happy."

Despite juggling over 1,000 hours of work in the garden, especially during the summer softball season and livestock exhibitions, Lauren remains steadfast in her goal. She aims to donate a total of 20,000 pounds of produce by the time she graduates high school in 2025.

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