Garlic and optimism by Stephanie Coburn

Stephanie Coburn, Head of Millstream: This photo of garlic signifies my optimism about local agriculture and feeding ourselves in New Brunswick. At the moment, we import more than 95% of our food from other places! How crazy is that? All those food dollars exiting the province! Garlic from China? It shouldn’t be on the grocery shelves, if we can grow it here; and we can: Plant a clove in October, just press it into the soil upright. It will develop a root system to get it going in the spring. Once the ground freezes, cover it with straw. Watch it come up, bright and green, one of the first green sights in May. It will develop a graceful seedpod, called a “scape”; cut that off and use it for cooking. When the green branches of the garlic have turned brown, pull it from the ground. That one clove will have turned into a whole bulb, with four to fourteen cloves, depending on the type. There are many stories like that, foods we can grow here for ourselves: tomatoes, onions, squash, broccoli, cabbage, peas and beans, naming just a few. One dollar spent in agriculture circulates seven times in the province—that’s a LOT of economic growth for us! We just need the vision and optimism to know we can, and with support for local agriculture from governments, schools and businesses, we could grow most of our own food here, and keep our food dollars at home. This picture is my family’s garlic supply for the year, my example of what could be done to feed ourselves.

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