Garlic has been grown in the Braidwood area for more than forty years thanks to the efforts of two local farmers, Gilles Bonin, & his partner Victoria Clutterbuck; and Conrad & Carol Kindrachuik. These local farmers we now call the "founders" of Braidwood garlic.
" We started with no money and no idea, just a couple of hippies trying to find something that we could grow and sell... we just grew it for ourselves and one year a friend came and she had a garlic plait she had bought somewhere and we thought we could do that.... In our first year we made 30 plaits using the garlic that we had, a white softneck, and our 30 plaits sold to a local craft shop. The next year we produced 100 plaits...." Victoria Clutterbuck
A gathering of Garlic Growers
In September 2012, Bronwyn Richards (Wynlen House Village Farm) organised a gathering for local garlic growers and those interested in growing garlic (as a market crop). By this time garlic had become a crop of significant interest in the Braidwood area. Garlic is a crop that does well in the regions cool climate and long frost season. It was being grown in just about every vegie garden and it was clear from the gathering that small to larger scale production in the area was on the increase with people viewing garlic as a worthwhile market crop. The Gathering was an opportunity to meet, initiate links and enable sharing of information. It was agreed that with the increasing demand for Australian grown garlic and the growing interest in local food we needed to ensure the Braidwood was recognised for it's quality garlic.
Growing the Group
In 2015, Bronwyn Richards with Dr Su Wild-River (Landcare project officer) applied for funds for the ‘Grow the Braidwood Garlic Growers’ project. This project was successful in receiving $20,000 funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program - 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants and supported by the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council. The aim of the project was to demonstrate the potential for garlic, as a commercial crop, to enhance economic resilience, agricultural profitability and sustainability in the Braidwood area. The project commenced in February 2015 and was completed in May 2017.
The Braidwood Garlic Growers Group was awarded a NSW Landcare Champion, Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture and Land Management Award in 2017 for this work.
Forming a cooperative
In November 2017, the Braidwood Garlic Growers Group became the Braidwood Garlic Growers Co-op Ltd with the support of the Australian Government's Farming Together (Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program). This is the first Garlic Co-operative in Australia. We are grateful for the support provided by Farming Together.