‘It’s a human right that every single person on this planet should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.’
“My name is Desiree. I’m 9 years old and I had an idea: Instead of throwing out our seeds, we could save them and grow them in our local farms.
“It started out when I was 4. There was a sign outside of my preschool asking for canned food donations, and I asked my mom, ‘Why do we eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and the people getting the donations get canned food?’ I wanted to donate fresh tomatoes because I love tomatoes.
“My mom explained that canned food keeps longer and is easier to donate. We had a garden that year, and I saw how seeds grew into vegetables, so I thought, ‘Can we just plant seeds and give them food?’ That’s cost efficient, and I’ll go and hand it to them door to door so that it doesn’t go bad.
“I wondered who owned the land first, and why do only some people have access to fresh food, and how can I change that? I wrote a letter to President Biden and sent him $17 asking him to give my school a greenhouse so I could grow vegetables all year ’round to donate, but I haven’t heard back yet.
I collected so many seeds that Island Harvest cannot even grow it all this year.
“I started collecting seeds in first grade. At my house, I would have this huge bucket right next to the mailbox for people to come and put their seeds. That year, I grew a lot of vegetables in my school garden, and the produce went to the family of vets.
“Then, COVID happened, so the rest of the seeds stayed with me, and I kept adding to my collection. I teamed up with the head farmer at Island Harvest; people can volunteer there to farm the land.
“This year, they are going to use all of my seeds on the farm. I collected gallon-sized plastic bags full of bell pepper and cantaloupe seeds. Did you know that one seed from a cantaloupe can make four cantaloupes, and there are about 300 seeds in each cantaloupe? We could feed so many bellies out there in the world. That is how I will stop world hunger.
“I collected so many seeds that Island Harvest cannot even grow it all this year. Families who qualify for donations from Island Harvest receive boxes of food, and it’s hard to fill every single box with nutritious food. I want to do my part to make sure every box is full. It’s a human right that every single person on this planet should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Interviewed by Liza Burby