Growing closer, healthier through the veggie of the year
Many things draw a community together. In northern Minnesota communities, add carrots, beans and tomatoes to the list.
In 2018, University of Minnesota Extension nutrition educators helped sponsor the One Vegetable, One Community program in 18 communities.
“It’s fun. It gets the community together and it’s healthy,” says volunteer Kristin Anderson of Itasca County, where her Bigfork community chose the carrot as their signature vegetable this year. There and throughout participating communities, selected vegetables are popping up in gardens, on balconies and outside stores.
Much the way some places choose a book for a community read, One Vegetable, One Community brings people together over the planting, care and harvesting of a vegetable. The grand finale is a community gathering where the vegetable is served. Recent examples were a salsa tasting to celebrate tomatoes, pizza parties where basil and oregano were selected, and a carrot cake contest.
As Extension educator Donna Anderson notes, many locations participating in One Vegetable, One Community are food deserts, places where access to groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables, is limited.
“This project is helping build a habit for families and kids, showing how we can grow some foods ourselves,” says Anderson.
One Vegetable, One Community draws upon multiple entities, including Statewide Health Improvement Project sites and Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, Master Gardeners and 4-H.
One Vegetable, One Community, participating cities in 2018:
Bagley, Bemidji, Big Fork, Blackduck, Breckenridge, Cloquet, Cohasset, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Elbow Lake, Fergus Falls, Fosston, Grand Rapids, Grygla, Kelliher, Laporte, Little Falls, Middle River, Moorhead, Newfolden, Park Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Roseau, Thief River Falls, Virginia, Wadena, Warren