Gary Fine (Librarian for the Durland Alternatives Library) and I met at Ithaca’s Food Justice Fair in 2013. We had both been long time gardeners, garlic growers and enthusiasts. It has been my experience that plants often bring people together and before long, there are a whole host of things to talk about. Our meeting revealed in fact, that we had similar ideas about many things, especially related to sustainability; and so The Garlic Project was born.
The Garlic Project intends to connect people to the food they eat through education, empowerment, and building community. Participants will learn how to grow healthy food, help grow it throughout our community and learn more about garlic culture and uses.
Why did we choose garlic? For our common goal of working and educating ourselves about what sustainability is, garlic has many benefits. It can be grown without pesticides and can be grown in a small space. It grows well locally, lending itself to improving varieties adaptable to this area and growers can save their own seed (Garlic “seed” is the individual clove in the bulb).
Garlic does not require added energy for curing and storage. One crop, when stored in a cool, dry place can keep well until the following years’ crop is ready for harvest. In addition, garlic has medicinal qualities; it is nutritious and makes food taste better. Now that is sustainable!
Through the Garlic Project we intend to add new planting sites throughout the community each year and get more people involved. Participants can expect to make new friends, gain skills, and have a great autumn day outdoors. Our area could conceivably become a major garlic growing region. At the very least, a local Garlic Festival may be in order!
The first Garlic Project planting, a collaboration between PEEPS (Plantations Environmental Education Program for Sustainability),The Durland Alternative Library (a project partner of the Center for Transformative Action), and the community will take place at Cornell Plantations on Saturday, November 8th in the Pounder Vegetable Garden at 1:00 PM. We ask that you register for the event (see: http://www.ssreg.com/cornellplantations/classes/results.asp?cID=78880). By registering we will be able to contact folks and plan a rain date on Sunday.
—Donna Levy Environmental Education Outreach Coordinator at Cornell Plantations