One Tomato was launched by Megan O’Neil and Darren Hakker on Earth Day in 2009 to encourage residents in Sarnia, Ontario to plant, grow and eat more vegetables, giving their extras to local food banks.

In 2010, One Tomato volunteers handed out 500 tomato plants in one day at an environmental and art street festival in Sarnia called Artwalk. Hundreds of plants were also pre-planted as ‘bucket gardens’. This initiative exhausted all tomato plants in Lambton County. Shortly after this event, One Tomato created a small vegetable garden at the Sarnia Library, open to all. Concern was raised by those who wanted to pick vegetables, because there never seemed to be any ripe. It was discovered that the homeless people who used a nearby park relied on the garden for their daily food intake.

In 2011, One Tomato and its intrepid team of volunteers built a 100′x35′ vegetable garden in the heart of downtown Sarnia. A major barrier was lack of funding, but this was broken through long-term sustainable support from local businesses and individuals who gave of their time and products. What was once an overgrown site of concrete and weeds quickly became a breathtaking vegetable garden for all to use and appreciate. Throughout the summer, plants produced delicious vegetables and fruit, often barely ripe when freely picked it to eat.

At the same time, Scouts Canada launched the One Tomato badge, to encourage children to actively participate in healthy eating and turn sod into edible gardens.

On June 4 and 5, 2011, One Tomato Project further helped to promote the creation of edible gardens during Artwalk. Throughout this one weekend, volunteers handed out 1,000 tomato plants (equal to 5,000+ pounds of produce) generously donated by DeGroot’s Nurseries; assisted in creating 200 ‘bucket gardens’; gave away 1,000 garden stakes made with reclaimed wood and branded with the One Tomato logo; handed out 540 colouring books to children, featuring custom illustrations; and taught festival-goers about the importance of urban nature and gardening. There were cost limitations on the effectiveness of this weekend’s initiative, so One Tomato secured corporate funding through Sun Life Financial to ensure all of its ambitions could be fulfilled.

From June 14-17, 2011, Megan and Darren participated in Spring Days, coordinated by Lambton-Kent Agriculture in the Classroom. At the event, they helped to teach 350 children and 50+ volunteers about the value of farming and eating healthy. More than 600 tomato plants and information kits on sustainability were given away.

In the fall of 2011, One Tomato received funding through the Sarnia Community Foundation to run an in-class elementary school program called Food Works to prepare youth with the basic culinary skills required to make healthy food choices in their homes. The program targets grade seven students and teaches them about food groups, healthy living, food skills and environmental responsibility.

On November 3, 2011, the One Tomato Project was awarded the prestigious Suncor Sustainability Award, a mark of distinction and recognition for contributions to social equity, ecological integrity and economic prosperity demonstrated in Sarnia.

Most recently, in 2012, One Tomato launched an exciting partnership with Goodwill Industries

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