And the 2023 Vegetable of the Year is….
Each year at the annual Harvest Dinner, nominations for the Vegetable of the Year are proposed. This year, Janet Kennedy made a suggestion that went over quite well. Kennedy's nomination was selected by an overwhelming majority.
And the 2023 Vegetable of the Year is... collard greens!
"It's from the south, my mom grew up on it, I grew up on it," says Kennedy. "It really connects me to my community." Although collard greens are a staple in the southern part of the country (Kennedy grew up in southern Mississippi) they are not as present in the north. "Today we're going to be opening up a larger conversation about collard greens."
Also present in support of the Vegetable of the year was Rumbi Masawi of Health Equity Northland. Masawi works with Giving Garden - a collaboration with St. Mark's church - that "concentrates on culturally relevant foods... for the African American community." Regarding the Vegetable of the Year, Masawi has several ideas for recipes. "It can actually be as easy as salt, oil, and the collard greens thinly cut and stir fried. Or it might be luxurious like collard greens in beef or collard greens in peanut butter."
Haley Diem is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Duluth Community Garden Program and will be connecting with local schools and neighborhoods to get the word out about collard greens. "We create a lesson that goes out to second graders in Duluth... We just generally get the community excited about celebrating a different vegetable each year." Diem manages Giving Garden sites where the community can responsibly harvest collard greens when they begin producing.
Beyond the abundance and the nutritional value, collard greens also thrive in colder conditions making collard greens a fitting pick for our region as the 2023 Vegetable of the Year.