Saskatoon Garlic Self-Sufficiency Project
The WAM Garlic Project was initiated in 2010. Volunteers and yard donors work together to plant and harvest beautiful, delicious, high-quality garlic. Some of the harvest is kept by yard donors while the rest is donated back to the project.
2012 fall planting sessions will begin soon! If you share our dream of readily available home-grown food, please contact us. We would love to have you on board as either a volunteer or yard-space donor. Thank you to the wonderful yard donors and volunteers representing WAM, RoadMap Saskatoon, Rooted, Transition Saskatoon, and Oxfam who made 2011's garlic project season a huge success!
Local garlic is healthier, safer, more environmentally friendly, and more ethical than our current supply, most of which comes from China.
Saskatoon Garlic Self-Sufficiency is:
• Practical: garlic is hardy and grows well in the prairies. A relatively modest amount of garlic is needed for self-sufficiency, and the project already enjoys community support; with advice from local garlic experts, 50 volunteers planted nearly 6,000 cloves in donated yards, experimenting with soil composition, mulch, and garlic varieties.
• Healthy: grown naturally and available fresh, local garlic is chemical-free and more potent than far-flung varieties; it is also packed with antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal compounds. Rosebushes, great companion plants for garlic, support healthy local bee populations.
• Ethical: this project employs young people at fair wages; workers in China receive slave wages to grow and ship our garlic 7,000 km. Some garlic will be contributed to CHEP’s Collective Kitchen, Saskatoon Food Bank, and donors of lawn space; the rest will be planted in Year 2 or sold to Steep Hill Co-op, Museo, and Caffe Sola to support the project.
• Delicious: local garlic is fresh, clean, and more potent; the difference in taste is enormous.
Garlic yield is approximately 30,000 bulbs per acre in the prairies; Saskatonians import up to a million bulbs of garlic annually. This year 1 acre of garlic was planted within city limits; the goal is to plant 15 acres in Year 2 and up to 19 acres in 2012 to satisfy demand and leave a prudent margin of error. A 3-year plan allows time to refine planting methods and develop a comprehensive plan to grow, market, and distribute 100% of Saskatoon’s garlic. Part of Year 1’s crop will seed 3 acres of Year 2’s crop. The project will generate its own garlic, materials, and staff by Year 3.
Sponsors will be thanked in all media advertisements and on WAM’s website. The publicity reach of the planting bees in October 2010 was over 500,000 people, with coverage by Global TV, StarPhoenix (page A3 feature), LeaderPost, CBC, CFCR, Talk 650, and more.
WAM is grateful to partners Oxfam, Transition, and RoadMap Saskatoon. Funds for Year 1 are from the Carrot Cache & Youth4Sustainability. WAM also won 350.org’s North American-wide funding contest for 10/10/10. Check it out: 350.org/garlic