It all began in late spring of 2011 with a small group of DCGP members….
The question at the heart of our work is “How do we make fresh, healthy food more accessible to people throughout our community?” It’s a question that no single group can or should answer.
And so the idea was born to rally the community around growing and preparing a single vegetable — the vegetable of the year — in order to share stories, recipes, growing tips, enthusiasm and inspire new ideas for building a better, more resilient and inclusive food system. Organizers try to carefully select vegetables and varieties that will thrive in Duluth.
“The cool thing is we can pick really regional vegetables that are appropriate for our area because what we want is something that’s hardy in this part of the world and that has a long growing season, so you can eat it for as long as possible during the year. Either it stores well or it’s a green that holds up very well to cold temperatures,” said Michael Gabler, Vegetable Ambassador for DCGP’s OVOC.
When community members join the One Vegetable, One Community (OVOC) initiative by planting the designated vegetable, then share a dish and stories about that vegetable, DCGP is broadening the conversation about food. The designated vegetable is chosen after a straw poll vote at the community potluck held in the fall and comments on the OVOC Facebook page.
The Duluth community has embraced the program from the start! Each year, the designated vegetable has been featured
- on menus at local restaurants, hospitals, and colleges
- growing in garden boxes outside local businesses
- at the Damiano Center’s soup kitchen
- in Community Supported Agriculture boxes accompanied by recipes
- in snacks at after school programs
- in community potlucks and events throughout the Duluth area.
It takes the entire community — farmers, artists, business people, church ladies, book discussion groups, community leaders, teachers, and both veteran and aspiring gardeners everywhere — to feed the good food revolution.
It’s Easy to Participate
People who have never gardened are especially encouraged to join OVOC.
Participants are encouraged to share their experiences, ideas, questions, recipes and events.
Anyone hosting an event featuring the Vegetable of the Year is welcome to submit it for the OVOC Community Calendar. Events will also be shared via Facebook and monthly emails.