Volunteer Spotlight: Kim Rollings Uses her Love of Gardening to Serve Others

Kim was one of the first volunteer Kernels in Jan’s Garden.

Kim Rollings has long enjoyed growing flowers, but it wasn’t until she began spending mornings in Jan’s Garden at the North Texas Food Bank that she found a passion for growing vegetables.

“I love all of my flowers, and now I love all of my vegetables,” Kim says.

As a volunteer Kernel, Kim helps lead and teach other volunteers most Tuesday mornings in Jan’s Garden, which is NTFB’s small-scale sustainable learning and production garden named in honor of late President and CEO Jan Pruitt.

“Some really know how to garden, but others have never put a spade in the soil, and they get really excited,” Kim says, of garden volunteers.

Kim first began serving in the garden in 2019 after meeting former garden specialist Emily Anderson through a neighbor.

During the height of COVID-19, Kim says she, Emily and a few other volunteers would work on the garden in masks, planting seeds in the small greenhouse and then repotting them so they could be moved outdoors each spring.

 “I learned a lot, and it’s grown so much,” Kim says.

Now a regular volunteer with garden specialist Karen Gilboux, Kim says she takes pride in harvesting vegetables and knowing that they’re being shared with neighbors. Produce grown in Jan’s Garden is provided to Seven Loaves Food Pantry at The Storehouse of Collin County.

Karen, Kim and the other volunteers also grow seedlings for partner gardens to use in their efforts to produce fruits and vegetables for neighbors. This year they grew and distributed close to 300 tomato plants for the garden’s annual Spring Plant Giveaway.

Early on in her volunteering, Kim says they experimented with different places for growing produce with the goal of showing partners, volunteers and neighbors that they didn’t need a large home garden to grow food. Indeed, Kim says they found even 2-gallon buckets from Home Depot are great for tomato, beans and other plants.

The work also inspired her to expand her home garden from flowers to vegetables, and Kim says she now loves tending both types of plants along with her 5-year-old grandson.

In Jan’s Garden, Kim enjoys the camaraderie of being with staff and volunteers. As a longtime financial contributor to NTFB, Kim adds that she believes in the Food Bank’s mission and that it’s fulfilling to know they’re helping others by gardening.

“Seeing the results of our planting, it’s very inspiring, and also just knowing that we’re helping people,” she says.


Kathleen Petty is communications manager for the North Texas Food Bank.