Katie Gubbe Plants Seeds of Love with GRuB

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Katie Gubbe spends about ten hours a week working in the GRuB gardens.


By Tali Haller

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Olympia High School senior Katie Gubbe has auspicious plans for her future. After receiving a full ride to The Evergreen State College, she plans to study agriculture and education, one day getting a Master’s degree in teaching.  “My goal is to teach at a grade school, working with little kids,” she said.

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Katie Gubbe’s passion for gardening began in her sophomore year at Olympia High School. Now, the student has earned a full scholarship to The Evergreen State College to continue her education.

The support and motivation for these ambitious goals has come in large part from GRuB, a community organization dedicated to connecting people with food. One of the three main programs at GRuB is the “GRuB In the Schools” program where students struggling to engage and find success in the traditional school system earn core credits while learning about and contributing to local community food solutions.

Gubbe first began hearing about GRuB at the end of her sophomore year. “Some of my friends who had seemed to be going down a ‘bad’ track had definitely had a big transformation from it. They would tell me how awesome it was and seemed really into learning,” she recalls.

Coincidentally, Gubbe had also began to have a passion for gardening around the same time.  “I’d grown up around gardening – my mom always had a flower garden, where she grew vegetables.

But it was really when I started going to my boyfriend Shannon’s house and saw his gardens that I became inspired. I thought it was so cool that they’re dinner revolved around what was growing in the garden,” she explained.

Ready for something alternative to the traditional school day, Gubbe applied to the GRuB school program and has been enrolled in it both her junior and senior years of high school. “GRuB definitely gave me the support I needed to get where I am today,” she says smiling.

According to Gubbe, the GRuB team is like a family. Aside from core subjects, GRuB’s learning program also teaches conflict management, teamwork, and communication skills.

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Katie Gubbe spends about ten hours a week working in the GRuB gardens.

When asked about some of her favorite memories, Gubbe drew in a breath. Her eyes misted over, clearly many occasions were flashing through her mind. “It’s hard to pick out just one moment,” she finally said.

Then she launched into a story about transforming the current GRuB farm she’s been working on, The Muirhead Farm. “Last year it was just an acre of scotch broom. Then one rainy day, bringing our tools and our rain jackets, we all went out, removed a bunch of scotch broom, and then played the game ‘Camouflage.’ So. Much. Fun,” she emphasized.

Another great memory comes from a political function. Members of the GRuB team went to the House of Representatives at the Capitol, rallying to increase funds for the expansion of the GRuB program. “We filled two conference rooms with people -breaking the record for how many people came to a House Bill hearing. I even gave a testimony about how GRuB has helped me,” Gubbe explained.

Needless to say, the bill passed. But even more rewarding was the amazing support of the community. “It was so empowering to see how much people cared,” she recalled.

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Katie Gubbe gathers green beans in GRuB’s garden.

It is times like those that have shaped Gubbe’s dream. “I want each and every person to know they’re important and have the power to make a difference.”

In fact, this is an idea that is stressed constantly in the GRuB curriculum. One of the teachers and co-founder of GRuB, Blue Peetz, has always told Gubbe, “The people who run the world, are those who show up.”

Although Gubbe started with limited experience, working with local gardeners and the GRuB team has given her quite an expanse of knowledge and inspiration. “My ultimate dream is to run a GRuB farm on my own 94-acre property,” she said.

In that, I see the true beauty in programs like GRuB, which give so much to those whom it touches that they in turn continue spreading the love.

To learn more about GRuB In the Schools and the non-profit organization’s collaboration with the Olympia School District, click here.

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