“A FARMER'S GRATITUDE”
The 2012 American Samoa Farm Fair was a wonderful show of American Samoa local Agriculture.
The Avegalio Farm was blessed to display a large variety of farm and plantation produce. The ground breaking improvement of what Samoa is capable of planting using the hydroponics method was the display of fresh local grown herbs ie; Purple, Lemon and Italian Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Parsley, Chives, Dry crest, fresh lettuce, jalapeno and chili peppers. The joyful, fun display was of the Pava lime aide stand. There was refreshing mint-lime aide, lime-bars, lime curd, lime and redlady papaya salsa. The proceeds went for the family college fund. The farm utilizes Organic Methods for healthy eating.
The extension of edible farm produce has been extended to horticulture. The family land in Leone under the management of Aunty Vea, also cultivates the most interesting local flowers and plants. Six foot high flowers featuring the Sexy Pink heliconia were displayed in all their splendor.
Avegalio Farm in Pavaiai Tualauta district was started by our parents Vailuu Failautusi Avegalio and our mom Emma Toomalatai Avegalio from Leone in the 1960’s. Heavy farmer competition back then was between the Afoa’s in Taputimu, Pio of Malaeloa, Sipili in Iliili, Fuimaono in Futiga, Asifoa of Aoloau, Suafo’a in Leone , Halecks in Mesepa and Maa Teo—just a few iconic farmers of those days. To top it all, we farmers had to compete against the mighty government Taputimu Farm.
The unusual gifts and secrets our parents and elders had for farming were passed down to all of us children, and ingrained into our own children is the responsibility of taking care of the farm and family lands to pass on to the next generation.
To me this Farm Fair means more then winning, this brought back many fond memories of our upbringing on the farm. There was the endless and relentless work our parents endured to cultivate virgin land to make sure we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. We suffered the heat, planting, weeding and prepping of vegetables for the market, eating the 101 ways of cooking pilikaki, disciplined if we acted stupid, mindless or lazy (which was most time with us boys); our sisters grew up like tom-boy-farmers.
At times we felt the heavy hands of our father for failure and disobedience, and then the selfless forgiving love from our mother.These trials by fire made us strong in our values and self reliant, and it got us ready for the world. It sustained three of us for the rigors of advanced education and three of us for the military.
The success of Avegalio Farm is due to God’s Grace and with the assistance of our partners from local Department of Agriculture, FSA, EPA, Soil Conservation, Land Grant, Vocational Rehabilitation, veteran farmers and family. Farmers can’t do it alone.
We would like to thank the Governor for his support and vision to make this fair a reality and to carry on the tradition of valuing the local farmers, and all the supporting agencies and volunteers for their tireless efforts. Thank you Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and private donors.
We are hopeful that future governors will see fit to continue and improve assistance to local farmers in sustaining and feeding our island community.
A special acknowledgement goes out to all the disabled farmers who showed up with their produce. This is one affair where we are not judged by our disabilities, but by the quality of our produce.
A special mention goes to Fire Dept., DPS and EMS for responding to my daughter whose head was caught between the bars while she was captivated by the crabs and minnows in the river.
And for all the local farmers who were able to come out for this year’s farm fair and the persistent farmer’s advocate, Mrs. Taimane Johnson, thank you very much and hope to see you all next year.
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