Hydroponics Gardening Program
“This is one of the best programs that has been offered in the territory and everyone should be taking advantage of it.” Collectively, this is what the participants of the Hydroponics Gardening Program, hosted by the American Samoa Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (ASCADSV), are saying.
Last Friday, the more than 20 participants – men and women – who successfully completed the six-week training course were honored during a ceremony held at the ASCADSV office at Lion’s Park. The opening prayer was offered by Reverend Tafa Muasau, Chairman of the Coalition Board of Directors, followed by remarks from Matautia Liliu Mailo, the ASCADSV Executive Director, and the keynote address by Dr. Ian Gurr, a hydroponics garden expert from the ASCC Land Grant Program.
Graduates of the course received certificates and gift items, but most importantly, they leave the program with a greater understanding on hydroponic gardening – an option for wellness and longevity.
Matautia said the goal of the program is to get people to know how to grow vegetables and produce items that are healthy. “Not everyone in our local community is a vegetarian in its strict sense,” she said. “But vegetables and hydroponic produce have great contributions to healthy and prolonged life through green-vegetables and balanced diets, and more so, healthy eating and happy living.”
This message, Matautia continued, is one of the central motivating factors behind the American Samoa Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s (ASCADSV or Coalition) gardening programs.
Friday’s ceremony was witnessed by members of the Coalition Board, government agency representatives, family members, and friends.
“Hydroponic gardening is relatively a new concept,” Matautia said. “But this form of gardening has been entertained by the participants who were eager to learn new ways of growing vegetables. Paying exposure visits to other hydroponic farms in the territory such as the Tutuila Farm owned by Brook and Ian Gurr, the Hirata Hydroponic Farm, and the Avegalio Hydroponic Farm, (besides the Land Grant and Agriculture Horticulture Greenhouse), have been inspirational and surely injected more knowledge and excitement to the group.”
According to Matautia, the hydroponic gardening program – as well as the computer literacy program that is ongoing – are short term projects that are part of the Coalition’s conjoined initiative with the Department of Commerce (DOC) through its Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) program.
“These programs have been provided for the empowerment of local communities to work towards the common good of all people of the territory,” Matautia explained, adding that these programs have been offered for more than five consecutive years thanks to the unrelenting support and financial grants from DOC.
“Accordingly, the main objectives and goals of these programs are to promote not only the human standard of living, but as violent-free and life-remedy alternatives for women and children, families and communities. Special attention is always directed to the underserved individuals and communities in order for them to be self-supportive, self-sufficient, and self-sustained in life,” Matautia emphasized.
The ASCADSV expresses its sincerest gratitude to DOC Director Keniseli Faalupe Lafaele, CSBG Program Manager Charlene Faalevao and assistant Dorothy Siatunu’u, program instructor Dr. Ian Gurr of Land Grant and his staff, Director Aufa’i Areta, and the hardworking gardeners of the Agriculture Department.
The Coalition also acknowledges the continuous support of Neil’s Ace Home Center and HC Papalii Laulii Alofa, owner of Paramount Builders, for the monetary donations that helped purchase the non-funded items for the projects.
Those interested in being part of the ongoing computer training course are invited to join the fun.