Gardening at the site of the Doi Tung Development Project and its surrounding area provides yet another job alternative for villagers. Thirty percent of the flowers planted are changed every 10 days, to ensure that the garden remains beautiful the year round for visitors, while providing substantial income for local gardeners. Initially, their duty was to tend decorative plants in the nursery and replace old plants in the Mae Fah Luang Garden. Today, employees are encouraged to run their own gardening business. These skilled gardeners are able to 'graduate' to independently produce potted flower plants under contract to the Project on reasonably-priced leased land. Locals can acquire cultured seedlings from the Project nursery and tend them until selling the grown plants back to the Project or to visitors to Doi Tung. Once their private business is profitable, the enterprise can transition away from Project support and becomes entirely self-financed. In this way, the Project incubates enterprises in the Doi Tung area.
The gardens under the Doi Tung Development Project have won praise for their fine designs and arrangements. In 1993 the Mae Fah Luang Garden was named winner of PATA (Pacific Asia Tourism Association) Gold Award in the category of Tourist Site Development. Every year, almost a million Thai and foreign tourists visit the Mae Fah Luang Garden that was once a rest stop for opium traffickers. Today, it is living testimony that development is possible in any part of the world.
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