780 AM | 96.1 FM 


(907) 443-5221

Community Garden Blooms in Unalakleet

April 26, 2024

Janice Homekingkeo, Communications Director

For Cassandra Johnson, the lack of fresh produce in her hometown, including her love for being outdoors, was the inspiration she needed to start a community garden in Unalakleet last year. Now, as the second growing season approaches, her garden is once again preparing to take root.

Unalakleet, a village located about 150 miles southeast of Nome, was once known as the “garden capital of the state.” But in recent years, access to fresh fruits and vegetables has dwindled. Johnson saw an opportunity to change that.

“The soil is pretty good. I just need to add more nutrients to it,” Johnson explained. “Whenever we have a storm, there is exposed clay, organic matter, sand and river mulch, and it naturally provides all of what you need to make your own soil. You just have to know what to look for.”

This season, Johnson plans to grow a variety of produce, including lettuce, kale, potatoes, carrots, dill, and garlic. She advises others looking to start their own community gardens to be flexible.

“Every year is always going to be different. You just never know, especially with the weather,” Johnson said.

To help support her efforts, Johnson was awarded two grants from community organizations. These funds will allow her to hire interns and host a summit in July, where 12-15 individuals from around the region will gather to learn about sustainable agriculture practices.

With the garden’s second season on the horizon, Johnson is hopeful that her efforts will inspire others in the community to get involved and rediscover the joys of fresh, locally-grown produce.

“Don’t wait for the right time for any project. If you want to do something, do it, learn on the job and be open to all advice and opportunities. Plants, like humans, in order for them to shine in the light, they have to grow all the roots in the dark soil and push through all the ground down to the unknown. What you see on the outside flourishing, was work done in the soil and in the dark and by themselves. If that makes sense. It’s really beautiful to watch plants grow and thrive,” Johnson said.

Recent Posts



Christmas 2023

Work for Us:




(907) 443-5221 


(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.