PSU’s Ag Fraternity raises $1,000 for local garlic farmer

The students of Penn State University's Delta Theta Sigma, a social professional agricultural fraternity, hosted a fundraiser for AgrAbility PA clients Matt & Amy Cook. The fraternity raised $1,000 for Matt to purchase additional garlic drying racks for his farm. AgrAbility PA began working with Matt in 2015 after he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Abbie Spackman (center) with DTS philanthropy chairs Nathan Pearlman and Hannah Menges.

Due to Matt's medical condition he needed to find a new occupation that allowed him a higher level of flexibility. He had an interest in agriculture and began exploring production options. Matt reached out to AgrAbility for information on what types of agriculture might be the best fit and what types of assistive technology was available to help him. AgrAbility project assistant Abbie Spackman helped him consider several types of specialty crops, and after a trial of garlic, Matt decided it was the best fit, and something he greatly enjoyed growing.

Garlic drying racks

The fundraiser culminated in a spaghetti dinner in December 2017. The students raised $1,000 for Matt. The event was organized by Nathan Pearlman and Hannah Menges, the philanthropy chairs for Delta Theta Sigma. These funds will help Matt purchase additional garlic drying racks. Matt uses metal shelving units on wheels to dry his garlic. This allows him to easily move the drying racks to and from the garlic beds during harvest time. The Cooks are in their third year of garlic production and plan to begin selling the garlic online this year.

Matt Cook on his farm.

“We have been helped by some very nice people like Abbie Spackman with AgrAbility PA, Lew Rinard at OVR, and Michael Ryan at Penn State Small Business Development Center in Lewistown. We couldn’t have gotten this far without their assistance. It has been difficult confronting the limitations my disability causes me, but it has been a wonderful experience feeling the love and support of good people like the members of your fraternity. We are so grateful for your kind gesture toward us both,” said Matt Cook, on behalf of his wife, Amy, too.

“Delta Theta Sigma has supported AgrAbility PA for many years and we greatly appreciate their support and the hard work they put into the fundraisers,” said Abbie Spackman, project assistant for AgrAbility PA.

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