Nonprofit Spotlight: Top Crops | Atmos Energy
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Nonprofit Spotlight: Top Crops

Nonprofit Spotlight
June 1, 2021

In 2013, Carol and Bill Greer aspired to offer educational and training opportunities to individuals with special needs during high school and after they graduateSo the Greers founded Top Cropsa continuing education program on the campus of Western Kentucky University that teaches individuals with intellectual disabilities how to become gardeners and sellers of healthy foods for the Bowling Green community.  

“Top Crops is all about growing the potential that everyone has inside themselves,” said Bill Greer, Top Crops co-director and Atmos Energy director of stakeholder engagement.  “One of the guiding principles of AtmoSpirit is ‘Bring out the best in others,’ and originally we thought that’s what Top Crops would do for the gardeners. However, over time, we have come to learn that the gardeners are the ones bringing out the best in all of us.” 

Top Crops gardeners plant, harvest, and sell a variety of seasonal herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers year-round at Bowling Green’s Community Farmers Market.  In additiongardeners donate fresh fruits and vegetables to familiesseniors, expectant mothers, and children in need through the Community Farmers Market partnership.  

We want our gardeners to be happy, safe, and independent.  The social part of gardening is so important, as this aspect of our gardeners everyday life is lost after they graduate from high school,” said Carol Greer, Top Crops co-director.  We are thankful to our generous partners for fostering the continued education and development of our gardeners who provide fresh produce and healthy options for our community.” 

Through its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program, Atmos Energy has partnered with Top Crops since its inception by donating time, talent, and resources to the construction and maintenance of the garden.  Team members have helped build elevated garden bedsassemble a high tunnel to support an extended growing season, and supported gardeners by planting, harvesting, and preparing produce to be sold. 

“After spending a little time at Top Crops, you realize it is a special place that teaches valuable skills and opens the door to a world of possibilities,” said Kay Coomes, Atmos Energy manager of public affairs. “It is a garden that fuels bright minds and healthy futures, provides nutritious options for families in need, anbrings our community together each week at our local farmers market.” 

To learn more about Top Cropand the Greer family’s story, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9ucXYS_LXQ and follow their efforts on Facebook and Instagram.