Hagatna Community Garden billed as Guam’s first USDA 'People’s Garden'
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Guam Green Growth (G3) Community Garden in Hagatna will be Guam’s first "People’s Garden," making it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's green map across the United States.
“We are thrilled to join gardens nationwide in the People’s Garden effort and what it represents,” said Michelle Crisostomo, president and founder of Guåhan Sustainable Culture, which built and maintains the Hagatna garden.
“This garden is here to inspire and empower our community to come together around expanding access to healthy food, addressing food insecurity, practicing sustainability and advancing our efforts towards food sovereignty," Crisostomo said.
The USDA expanded the People's Garden Initiative in September last year to include school gardens, community gardens, urban farms and small-scale agriculture projects in rural, suburban and urban areas.
To be eligible to be recognized as a “People’s Garden” a garden must: benefit the community, be a collaborative effort, incorporate conservation management practices and educate the public about sustainable gardening practices and the importance of local, diverse sources of healthy food.
Guåhan Sustainable Culture was founded in January 2019.
"The Hagatna G3 Garden is one of the three community gardens that we operate. It was built in August 2021," Crisostomo said. "It never closes, is open to the public 24/7 and open to volunteers at least two times a week. Our staff are usually there watering and working with volunteers in the afternoons."
The Hagåtña G3 Community Garden is a collaborative project of the islandwide G3 initiative, a public-private partnership facilitated by the Center for Island Sustainability at the University of Guam and supported by the Office of the Governor.
At the garden, compost is utilized to divert waste from the landfill and serve as a teaching tool for the community. Natural products are used to apply nutrients to plants and control pests in the garden.
Different varieties of flowering plants are grown to attract pollinators. Fruits are left on the plants past their harvest date to save seeds. Materials such as plastic containers, cardboard, and shredded paper are recycled and used in the garden. Opportunities to learn about sustainable gardening practices are offered frequently through outreach, workshops and field trips.
The USDA originally launched the People’s Garden Initiative in 2009. It’s named for the “People’s Department,” former President Abraham Lincoln’s nickname for USDA, which was established during his presidency in 1862.
People’s Gardens grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using conservation practices; nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife and create greenspace for neighbors.