The William Buckland Foundation aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged Victorians through grants that support better housing, health, education and employment outcomes. It also funds initiatives that build resilience in rural and regional communities. Since its establishment in 1965, the foundation has distributed in excess of $135m for Victorians.
2024 Nuffield Scholar
Finding ways to grow 'greener' organic garlic
Producing up to eight tonnes of organic garlic each year, Nick Young knows a thing or two about what's involved in the production process. It's that exact process which he hopes to improve through a 2024 Nuffield Scholarship, supported by the William Buckland Foundation. Nick aims to reduce the waste generated by organic garlic production.
"Weed gunnel is used extensively for weed management, but it's expensive and cannot be reused when growing garlic at scale," Nick says.
"Currently, the only method of disposal is sending it to landfill. This contributes to the reason organic garlic is so expensive – it’s the high cost of production.”
Nick will investigate ways to reduce the cost of production for organic garlic and bring it into line with the cost of producing garlic under conventional methods. He says the benefits would be twofold.
“It would encourage producers to consider growing garlic using organic methods, which improves the quality of the garlic and soil health. It would also make buying organic garlic more affordable for consumers and open it up to a bigger number of shoppers.”
Nick says organic garlic currently retails for between 25 and 40 per cent more than conventional garlic. He has been growing garlic on 1.2 hectares (three acres) of land at Flinders, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, for six years. Nick plans to travel to Argentina, the second largest exporter of organic garlic in the world, as well as Spain and France – leading manufacturers of the machinery used in garlic production. He will also tour the US, where large quantities of garlic are produced in California.
Nick says this research aligns with the Australian Garlic Industry Association's strategic plan as it could help address supply, production, climatic and sustainability challenges.
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