Featured Story: The Story of a Gardener


This week’s Featured Story comes from Facing Hunger in Manhattan, Kansas, where Leadership Studies students at Kansas State University partnered with The Bread Basket food pantry to capture the stories of individuals who face hunger in Manhattan each day.

Despite facing poverty and hunger, the storyteller for Story of a Gardener continues to have a positive outlook on life because of her love for nature and the power of human connection. Sometimes the great outdoors and a good laugh with friends can be enough to lift spirits when we are most in need.


The Story of a Gardener

As told to writer Lori Kniffin

I’m addicted.

Addicted to daylilies.

I’m in three daylily clubs.

One in Salina, Topeka, and Manhattan.


Have you ever heard of ditch lilies?

They are orange and yellow, so beautiful.

Gardening has been my everything.

My hobby, my job, and my love.


Gardening has taken me to many places.

From Waterloo, Iowa, to Southern Minnesota.

I also spent time in the Navy.

Traveled all the way to Scotland.


Now I’m in a mobile home park.

I garden in five other yards.

My heart attack forced me to retire

Had a double-bypass a few years after.


This program has really saved my life.

I still owe $100,000 for my surgery.

I run out of money by the fifth of the month.

Anything I can get here is great, a luxury.


I go to Wal-Mart a lot.

Take my time looking at their plants.

My friend from the daylily club works there.

She’s my sunshine.


My daylily club will have a sale at the mall.

We bring flowers to the sale.

Can you come by in July, or maybe September?

I’d love to show you.


Facing Hunger in Manhattan, Kansas, is an affiliate of The Facing Project. To learn more about Facing Hunger and read other stories from the project, visit their site.

About The Facing Project:

The Facing Project connects people through stories to strengthen communities. The project inspires communities to organize and share the stories of citizens through the talent of local writers and actors, and provides the tools necessary to develop projects so that community organizers can easily showcase the stories to bring attention to, and create dialogue around, issues and topic areas within a community. Founded in 2012 in Muncie, Indiana, by J.R. Jamison and Kelsey Timmerman—and hailed by The Huffington Post as one of three oral history projects to watch—The Facing Project is in communities across the U.S. facing issues from human trafficking, to homelessness, to hunger, and more. To learn more about The Facing Project or to start a project in your community, visit: www.facingproject.com.

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