Susupe community garden now open

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THE community garden is now open in Susupe. Members of the community are welcome to visit the garden and watch it thrive.

On Saturday at Kanoa Resort, a community gardening workshop was held and among the participants were the Board of Parole, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Department of Public Lands, 2019 Miss Earth NMI Leisha Deleon Guerrero, Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research and Extension Education Services, Rep. Christina Sablan, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, and other members of the community.

The workshop featured speakers from each of the major stakeholders involved in the project, and these include Board of Parole Chairman Ramon B. Camacho, NMC-CREES agriculture research/extension agent Arnold Route, DLNR forestry technician I Pedro Tudela, and Division of Agriculture-Specialty Crop Block Grant Program administrative assistant Norma B. Carayoan.

Carayoan said her role is to promote, develop, and administer agriculture programs. If anyone needs help setting up a garden, whether it be a community garden, a school garden, or a family backyard garden, they can reach out to her.

Tudela said his role is to provide plants — free of charge — to community members interested in gardening, so long as they take care of the plants.

He informed workshop attendees that three plants per month are provided for each household, with a catch: He performs a surprise visit to ensure that the plants are properly maintained.

Division of Agriculture-Specialty Crop Block Grant Program administrative assistant Norma B. Carayoan teaches children how to plant seeds in the Susupe community garden.  Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

After the workshop, the participants gathered at the Susupe community garden to plant their crops. The plants were provided by DLNR and NMC-CREES.

The plot was cleared in the first week of March with the help of the Saipan Mayor’s Office, which cleared out debris, including junk cars, and tilled the soil.

Preparing the community garden involved growing the specialty crops and agroforestry seedlings, building the “palapala” or pavilion for shade, and setting up the water tank for the garden and the irrigation system, among other activities.

Board of Parole Chairman Camacho said there are several benefits to the garden, including providing fresh produce for the community, increasing camaraderie among community members, and integrating parolees back into the community.

“At the end of the day, this is all about the community. We want to bring the community together, especially during these times,” he said.

The Susupe community garden is located on Tramoha Avenue and is open to everyone.

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