Penn State students of Delta Theta Sigma -- a social professional agricultural fraternity -- are hosting a fundraiser for an AgrAbility client! Funds raised will provide assistance to Matt, a garlic farmer in Central Pennsylvania who is living with multiple sclerosis. The primary fundraiser is a dinner this week in State College.
DONATIONS BY YOU can be made at the following link in any amount, starting at just $10! Please consider helping this farmer. DEADLINE to donate is Monday, December 11, by 5 pm. Companies and organizations can donate, too.
Nine years ago, when I turned 40, I was diagnosed with MS. It changed my life. I had never really been sick before. My wife and I ran our own finish carpentry business. We would install trim, steps, and kitchens. We also volunteered regularly in construction and relief work. We loved working together, and enjoyed the challenge and work very much. But we were now required to shift gears.
Our home is located on 2 ½ acres of land in Central PA with great sun exposure, so it seemed natural to see what I could grow, especially since my wife loved gardening. After much research and determining to what extent my illness would progress, we settled on trying our hand at specialty garlic. It seemed to be the best fit with my new circumstances.
We have been producing garlic seed for replanting on our farm, and refining our farming skills into our 3rd year now. In our 2nd year, after purchasing and growing 10 to 15lbs of seed garlic, we were able to turn it into 75 lbs. of seed garlic. Next year we hope to turn that into 250 to 300 lbs. of garlic, hopefully enough to sell and serve as seed for next year's crop. We grow close to 20 different kinds of garlic, which we hope to narrow down to just a few popular kinds. I have found this more rewarding and exciting than I ever thought I would.
We have learned that drying the garlic after it is harvested in summer is very important. This makes drying racks very important. We have found that the metal drying racks on wheels work the easiest, since they can be wheeled right into the field, loaded up and taken to the garage for drying in one easy-to-use step. It would be great to have more of these racks for next year. This is what we plan to use the money for.
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. 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, including the members of this fraternity. We are so grateful for your kind gesture toward us both in this fundraiser.
-- Matt (and Amy)