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Kids Eat Local - A Gold Girl Story

Claire Gibson Gold Final 1

Claire Gibson of Oak Ridge is one of 29 Gold Award 
recipients from the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians. She shares what she learned through the Gold Award experience and what she’s up to now.

Since 1916, thousands of Girl Scouts across the country have earned the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, now called the Girl Scout Gold Award, for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making sustainable change in their communities. Nationally, only 6 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.

“I chose my Gold Award project because I wanted to fulfill a need in my community while also working on something I was passionate about,” Claire said. “I am passionate about sustainability and helping the environment, including eating locally sourced food.”

Claire’s project focused on providing access to healthy, local and sustainable food for children. At the weekly farmers’ market, she coordinated vegetable tastings for kids with produce donated by a farmer. Kids received two tokens, valued at $1, to spend on fruit and vegetables.

“I reached out to the market director, and she said they were looking for someone to work with the kids who come to the market, and that was the start of my project,” Claire shared.

“My favorite part was interacting with the kids, especially seeing their hilarious reactions to trying new and sometimes bizarre vegetables,” said Claire, adding, “I learned that kids do not like watercress.” 

Claire’s project had to be cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited data that she could collect. However, she still learned valuable life lessons: “Time management is important. I quickly figured out that leaving tasks for the last minute or rushing a task would not result in the best possible outcome. When I took my time, I saw the best results.”

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Claire collected clay and dirt from her backyard to make seed balls.

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Claire built a hydroponic growing system that she designed  herself. She is pictured with the finished product at the top of this blog.

Claire’s passion for sustainability and environmental causes stems from a favorite experience of hers in Girl Scouts. “When I was a freshman in high school, I went to Camp Tanasi for the summer,” she said. “I went backpacking for two weeks with a small group of girls on the Appalachian Trail. This trip is where I really found my love for all things outdoors and nature. The positive experiences I had on this trip kickstarted my passions and eventually led to my Gold Award project.”

Claire describes herself as civic-minded, determined and motivated, and she enjoys spending time with close friends and family, including her best-friend-since-middle-school and college roommate, Caroline, and her beloved cat, Luna. 

She likes outdoors activities, including hiking, camping, kayaking and swimming. She’s entering her sophomore year of college at the University of Tennessee and majoring in nuclear engineering. 

Congratulations to Claire and all of the Gold Award recipients!

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Claire mans her booth at the Farmer's Market.

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Some young visitors at Claire's booth.