North

At 2,000 square metres, Gameti strives for biggest garden in N.W.T.

The senior administrative officer of Gameti, N.W.T., who just moved to the hamlet eight months ago, has made it his personal mandate to help the community produce enough fresh vegetables to feed everyone in the community year round.

Community has already produced 560 kg worth of vegetables

Volunteers work in the community garden in Gameti, N.W.T., which has already produced 560 kg of vegetables in one summer. (Courtesy Judal Dominicata)

A man in Gameti, N.W.T. is hoping the community garden he helped create will be known as the biggest garden in the territory. 

Judal Dominicata moved to Gameti from the Philippines eight months ago when he was hired as the hamlet's senior administrative officer. He has a PhD in agriculture, which he got in his home country, but the certificate isn't recognized in Canada.

Judal Dominicata considers himself the "consultant" for the volunteers who work on the community garden in Gameti, N.W.T. (CBC)

When he moved North, Dominicata wanted to make sure he could still pass along his knowledge to the people of his new home. 

"Because I would like to help them. I belong to them, " Dominicata said. "I came from a very poor family in the Philippines and the only way to survive and to be complete with these people is to have a healthy mind and a healthy body. And this can only be done by eating fresh produce."

The garden is more than 2,000 square metres, which is about half the size of a football field, and has many different kinds of vegetables. 

Dominicata received all the supplies from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, including soil, seeds and the tools to make the garden a reality. 

"I really started from scratch," Domincata said.

​Dominicata says this summer, he spent more than five hours every day helping volunteers maintain the garden. School children, parents and elders each have rows that are their responsibility. 

"They are learning a lot," Dominicata said. "In part, they do not know … what corn [plants] look like. They ask me, 'Is this corn? Is this eggplant?'" 

The community garden in Gameti, N.W.T. is more than 2,000 square metres. (Courtesy Gameti First Nation)
So far volunteers have gathered and distributed 560 kilograms of vegetables from the garden to the community. Dominicata hopes to feed the entire community of just over 300 people. 

He also says he's applied to the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency to get a greenhouse in the community, so he can continue to help people all year long. 

"We would like to have 365 days of vegetables in Gameti. That is the target."

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