Profiles: Free Food, Local Garlic and Healthy Hearts

In these profiles, Trusten Holder creates free food, Ted Maczka (the Garlic Man) grows his own local garlic, and Noel Johnson defies the odds and finds good health at 85.

| March/April 1985

Free Food: Trusten Holder

Arkansas residents who are poor, unemployed or simply seeking no-cost nourishment can help themselves to fresh turnips, free for the picking, thanks to the efforts of Trusten Holder. "Free food is needed by many today, especially with the high rate of unemployment," says Holder, who spends much of his time planting turnip seeds on unused property and along partially used rights-of-way.

Now retired after 36 years in environment-related state jobs, Holder remains actively interested in land use. He views ditch banks and field borders that have been disked by farmers to prevent the growth of weeds as ideal places to plant turnip seeds. But he also ventures onto public land: His most ambitious effort to date took place in 1981, when he scattered seed along an entire 10-mile stretch of newly installed sewer line.

Holder, who has received numerous conservation awards in his long career, derives great satisfaction from seeing people pick the nutritious greens and roots he's planted. He notes that it costs only about $6.00 to sow an acre, and he tries to encourage others to follow in his footsteps. "What better way is there," he asks, "to do good for a minimum of cost and effort?" —Marsha Gravitz .

Local Garlic: Ted Maczka

When Ted Maczka learned that Canada was importing millions of dollars' worth of garlic annually, he set out to prove that Canadians don't have to rely on foreign countries to supply the herb. Now, on his farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Ted raises a ton of worldclass elephant garlic yearly.

The large bulbs grown by Maczka weigh up to 6 ounces each and have giant cloves, which make peeling a breeze. The taste of this huge garlic is reportedly excellent, yet very mild. According to Ted, some people even eat it as they would fruit — whole and raw.

The Polish-born Maczka, who calls himself the Fish Lake Garlic Man, sells most of his organically grown crop to stores and restaurants in Toronto. But the demand now exceeds Maczka's supply, and Ted constantly encourages others to contribute to Canada's self-sufficiency by planting some cloves.

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