Fresh beans are easy to grow, delicious and nutritious. You can grow them in your garden or in a good-sized pot on your porch or doorstep. They come in a variety of colors and types--green, burgundy, yellow; bush, pole, or ornamental. For these reasons, fresh beans were chosen for a starring role as the "one vegetable" for the first year of Beltrami County's "One Vegetable One Community" project.
"One Vegetable One Community" is a campaign to inspire conversations about food using one particular vegetable as a starting point. Some Minnesota towns and counties have adopted vegetables for several years, and other communities--like Beltrami and Itasca Counties--are getting started in 2017. In all, more than 20 communities across Minnesota are participating this year.
Per the Beltrami County flyer, the Ojibwe word for "green beans" is "mashkodesiminag."
Beltrami County Extension Educator Deb Dilley and Master Gardener Becky Livermore visited Northern Community Radio's studios to explain the project. With packaging help from high school students, garden clubs, local businesses and others, they plan to distribute 3,000 or more bean kits in Bemidji, Blackduck and Kelliher. Each kit contains 25 seeds, a garden label, and a brochure. The brochure has instructions for how to grow beans, recipes for beans, nutrition information, a list of distribution sites, and an explanation of "One Vegetable One Community."
Kits will be available in May. Planting will commence once the soil has warmed: "Plant them the same time that you plant your tomatoes," advises Becky Livermore.
Deb Dilley hopes the project will lead to conversations about food, encourage people to grow food, attract some first-time gardeners and increase access to quality food. In the Bemidji schools, 46 teachers have signed up to participate in the project with their classrooms. The smaller districts (Blackduck and Kelliher) are also participating. This fall, there will be fresh bean dishes in school cafeterias, and kids are taking flyers home to their parents to let them know where they can get bean kits.
The Itasca County vegetable is also the bean, although the focus includes dry beans. "Beans on the Scene in 2017" is providing instructions for cooking dry beans and saving seeds, along with recipes for raw green bean salad, chili, and Tuscan sausage and bean soup. The Itasca County crew hopes their project will encourage people to grow together, cook together, eat together, learn together--and at the same time build a stronger local food system, increase access to healthy foods, and nurture a healthy community. You can find more information on their Facebook page, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 218/327-6116 or 218/327-7356.
Beltrami County bean kits will be available at the following locations:
- Beltrami County WIC office
- Bemidji Community Food Shelf
- Bemidji Public Library
- Bemidji State University Sustainability Office
- Harmony Food Co-op
- Northern Dental Access
- Bemidji City Hall (entryway)
- Bi-County CAP
- University of MN Extension office (at the fairgrounds)
- Kelliher Health and Resource Center
- Kelliher City Hall
- Blackduck Resource Center
- Blackduck City Hall
For more information about "One Vegetable One Community" in Beltrami County, call the extension office 218/444-5722 or visit their Facebook page.
Listen to our lively interview with Deb Dilley and Becky Livermore below: