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Learning how to grow respect
Cindy Gon's gardening work a matter of pride

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Friday, August 7, 2015

For Cindy Gon, Gameti's community garden is allowing her to realize her own potential.

NNSL photo/graphic

Cindy Gon takes a break in Gameti's community garden. She says her work as a gardener trainee has opened her eyes to her own capabilities. - photo courtesy of Judal Dominicata

As a gardener trainee, she was left in charge when Judal Dominicata, Gameti's senior administrative officer, left on vacation in July.

"I didn't know I could run the whole garden on my own," she said. "After doing it for the week and half that Judal was gone, I realized I was running the whole garden on my own."

Gon is just one Gameti resident now employed to help run the community garden, which consists of two 43,000-square-foot plots, corn fields, rice paddies and goats and chickens.

In Dominicata's absence, Gon said she had to decide whether to expand one of the garden plots.

"I expanded some of the rows without asking him because he wasn't here," she said. "He came back and he saw some of the work we had done while he was away and he was pretty pleased with it."

In addition to her own duties, Gon is now helping to train others. She's teaching everything from how and when to water certain plants to how to transplant vegetables.

Together, the group is helping to make sure the garden yields as much as it can. Playing music helps keep everyone motivated, Gon said.

"Some days I'll blast the iPod so everybody can hear it," she said.

Other days, it's good to just be quiet, she added. The garden is a place where Gon said she can relax and dedicate herself to her work.

"It's really quiet out there so everybody is kind of on their job and doing their thing," she said. "It's nice and peaceful."

The garden is also close to a beach, which provides a great place for viewing wildlife.

"We have a really good view by the beach," Gon said. "For the past week we've been seeing whooping cranes."

Gon said she and other garden workers were thrilled to see the birds, which are an endangered species.

"It was 15 feet away," she said. "It was awesome."

Gon said while she's been enjoying helping the garden grow, she's especially looking forward to harvesting corn.

She said she's learned a lot about individual vegetables.

"Every plant is different," she said.

The garden is providing food to her community, but it's also providing something else, Gon said.

"I would say a lot of people are proud that we have a garden because it makes our community stand out," she said.

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