Using art to inspire people to eat locally grown produce.
Hip Veggies is the brainchild of Monika Woolsey, a registered dietician whose mission is to inspire consumers to make better food choices, including eating more fruits and vegetables, especially those that are grown locally.
The observant entrepreneur had an epiphany while touring a downtown Phoenix gallery, and seeing how local artists incorporated vividly colored vegetable into their works. She wondered if artists would be interested in helping her promote consumption of locally grown produce, and approached them with a creative proposition. If they would create the designs for reusable shopping bags, she would donate a portion of the proceeds to their favorite local hunger relief organization. They would also benefit from exposure by having their art displayed on these bags. Artists were enthusiastic about her idea, and Hip Veggies was born.
The very first Hip Veggie bag design, Little Owlie, promoted beets and was created by local artist Sebastian Millon, who selected Fresh Start as his designated charity. Local artist Joe Ray created the “Shut up and eat your Nopales!” design for a bag that promotes the indigenous and nutrient rich prickly pear cactus. He selected Desert Mission Food Bank as his charity. Bags can be purchased on Hip Veggies website and from supportive retail partners.
Hip Veggies is an evolving concept because Woolsey is always seeking new ways to collaborate with culinary chefs, local growers and other community partners that can help get Arizona’s native plants and produce on the culinary radar. She is thankful to local artists whose talents are helping to pay tribute to Arizona’s native plants, inspiring consumers to try new and different varieties of local produce, and redefining what it means to “eat local.”