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Garlic, Chess & Exponential Growth

How a few cloves of garlic can explain exponential growth with the help of a Kurdish king and wise man and a chess board.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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A couple of years back I was given a few cloves of organic garlic by a colleague via one of our winery clients. They came with the compelling instruction to plant on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest. Only having a small plot these days I planted a few & gave the rest to a friend. That year after we all harvested and passed on cloves to various buddies and now we get stories from all over the country of folks enjoying the bounty starting with those few cloves.


It brings to mind the Kurdish tale about the king, the wise man and the wheat on a chess board – demonstrating the meaning of exponential growth: http://bit.ly/hlatyb (worth a read)


Perhaps for commercial food producers this inspires more about messaging? What does it take for your product to be so loved that it creates a viral/ripple effect through various online & offline networks? What other avenues for industry might this inspire? Does it raise issues about sustainable agriculture vs. intensive farming? And what about nudges for community connectivity?


Hat-tip to Greg Hay at Peregrine Wines for offering up the first cloves, via Helen Milner from Tardis Design. In the photo my pitiful specimen is in the foreground flanked by the bumper crop of the Trotter family... that's what happens when you abandon your New Zealand garden for summer to throw yourself round India instead!

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Nice personal story. And you know, great taste is not always in the size...
I love that you brought up the story of the Kurdish king and the chess board! That's a brilliant tale.