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Marianas Variety: NMC-CREES conducts hydroponics workshop on Tinian (January 12, 2017)

TWENTY-SIX Tinian residents, including government personnel, attended a workshop on non-circulating hydroponics systems conducted by Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services in December.

The workshop was facilitated by Michael Ogo and Rush Famaw of the Aquaculture and Natural Resources Program of NMC-CREES. Lawrence Duponcheel, a Tinian NMC-CREES staff member, said the workshop dealt with non-circulating hydroponics systems for growing lettuce and other crops through an experiential learning process. In addition, he said the workshop provided participants a chance to construct a small-scale hydroponics unit for growing between 25 and 30 heads of lettuce that could be harvested in just under 35 days.

The non-circulating hydroponics systems are low maintenance, requiring no pumps, electricity, or weeding, and the systems are mobile and can be moved to other locations after harvesting, Duponcheel said. The non-circulating hydroponics systems are perfect for backyard food production and can be easily expanded for commercial production to meet the growing demand for produce in the CNMI, he added. The workshop was provided at the request of stakeholders as indicated in the NMC-CREES needs assessment conducted in 2016.

The workshop was also aligned with the NMC-CREES mission to provide technical assistance in agriculture sciences that can improve the quality of life for CNMI residents and build support for local food producers to provide resident, tourist and military markets with fresh, locally produced food, Duponcheel said. The NMC-CREES team thanked Michael Ogo and Rush Famaw for coordinating and facilitating the workshop, and for making logistical preparations. The team also thanked Rose Lazaro, Joan Flores, and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program volunteer Teresita Dela Cruz, Maria Aguon, Sue Palacios, and Sam Palacios as well as Tinian Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas, his staff and the participants.

Duponcheel said they will soon announce future workshops that will focus on a variety of agriculture and aquaculture-related topics.

“We are glad to see a strong community response to the hydroponics workshop that was recently held on Tinian,” NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez said. “We look forward to engaging the community through other activities throughout the year as we continue to expand the programs and services on Tinian and Rota,” she added.

Fernandez was also on Tinian last month to meet with Mayor Joey San Nicholas and members of his staff, as well NMC Tinian Center staff members to discuss training activities and other opportunities for collaboration.

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