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Friday, 26 May, 2017


The Bean Scene@ Your Library

Tracy Kampa, Children’s Library

“Grand Rapids is very brave in choosing beans as their first One Vegetable selection. Clearly, the powers that be never read "Martha." I hope I won't be reading newspaper reports about mean green beans throwing librarians into the Mississippi.”

 These are words of wisdom from award-winning author David LaRochelle. I appreciate the warning, because, if you’ve ever read his book “How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans,” you know how dastardly green beans can be.

One Vegetable, One Community (OVOC) started in 2011 with the Duluth Community Garden Program, and is intended to answer the question “How do we make fresh, healthy food more accessible to people in our community?”  The idea is to highlight one vegetable that grows well in the northland, and get the community talking about, and using that vegetable.  Hopefully, these conversations will naturally expand to include thoughts about where your food comes from and what you put on your plate. 

As David pointed out, Itasca County’s first foray into OVOC places the bean front and center.  There will, of course, be no bean discrimination when deciding on what beans you might want to grow. Pole beans your thing? Perfect! You fancy yourself a bush bean farmer? Go for it! Would you rather grow something fancier? How about Scarlett Runner, Black Turtle, or French Filet beans? The bean is your oyster! Or, errr…the world is your bean! Or something like that. (Fair warning, though: if you haven’t read David’s book about Martha and the green beans, please do so before you plant. You need to know what you could be in for.)

“So, Tracy, how do I participate?”  I’m delighted you asked! It’s easy, really, all you need to do is grow some beans…or eat some beans…or have some really deep bean thoughts…or dream about beans.  However you want to do OVOC is the perfect way to do it. Maybe a bean dance? You can do bean art, or organize a bean potluck. You could read every bean book in the library, or organize a round table about the food needs in Itasca County. You could invite your neighbors in to make a big pot of bean soup, or maybe your competitive nature will compel you to have your own bean growing contest.  Maybe you will spend the summer greeting your friends “Hey! How ya bean?” There is no wrong way to celebrate OVOC.

The very first step for many people, though, might be to get some bean seeds and stick them in the ground. Don’t worry, the OVOC people of Itasca County have you covered. They have spent many, many hours putting together bean “tool kits” which contain not only information and garden markers, but the bean seeds as well.  We have several of these tool kits at the library, just waiting for you to pick them up;  we hope that Mother Nature will be a wee bit more cooperative than she has bean this past week. (See what I did there?  I suspect I’m going to drive my family crazy this summer.) 

Your first stop for more information might be the Facebook page: One Vegetable One Community- Itasca County.  Here you can share bean stories, swap bean recipes, and show off your bean pictures. Alternatively, you can also check out Get Fit Itasca’s web page at www.getfititasca.org. If email is your thing, you can send your queries to ovocitasca@gmail.com.  Rather give Ma Bell your business? (Please tell me you understand that reference…I spent my day with 3rd graders and feel like a dinosaur.) You can pick up your phone and call (218) 327-6116 or (218) 327-7356. Don’t wait too long to get involved, though, you wouldn’t want to be a has-bean! Happy planting!


This Week at Your Library

Monday, May 1: At 9:30 and 10:30 please join us for Book Time! Join ECFE teachers in the story circle for stories, finger plays and songs.  Then move to the community room for a craft, a snack, and time to play and visit.

Thursday, May 4: Lots to Know About the Mesabi Trail! At 6:00, join Ardy Nurmi-Wilberg as she takes us on a virtual tour of the Mesabi Trail, sharing what’s possible along the 132-mile paved trail stretching from Grand Rapids to Ely. See who uses the trail, how they navigate it, and how visitors impact the area. Learn the benefits of cycling and get a sneak peek of planned new construction. A fun event with prize giveaways!

Saturday, May 6: At 10:15 and 11:15, it’s time for Saturday Story Time! Join ECFE teachers in the story circle for stories, rhymes and songs.  Then move to the community room for a snack and a craft.  Open to all ages. No registration required.  Story Time attendees earn one Baby Steps coupon per family per Saturday.