Designed to respond to the need for increased access to locally produced healthy food, this project paired 10 Novice Farmers with three Master Farmers (with over 5 years of experience in hydroponics farming systems). Novice Farmers were required to complete over 400 hours of on-site training at Hydroponics Farm Incubators set up by the Master Farmers. Participants learned the nuances of operating three different hydroponics systems and were given an opportunity to decide which system would work best on their property.
Once the participants completed the training, a fully equipped hydroponics farming system with hoop house valued at $15,000 per farmer was provided by the project as Business Start Up for farmers to farm for commercial purposes. Although 10 were supported, the project has seven that are currently continuing to work on their hydroponics farms and producing locally grown healthy food for American Samoa.
Master Farmers: Larry Hirata of Hirata Hydrogardens, Brooke Gurr of Tutuila Greens and Edward Avegalio of Avegalio Farms.
Over the course of the three project, the Master Farmers also received an infusion of $27,000 each (paid over the three years) to assist with business expansion and allow them to increase their product yield to serve the needs of our community.
Dustin and Tumuai Snow - Taputimu
Terry and Moana Chang - Ili'ili
Foga Nelson - Aunu'u
Leilua Stevenson/DDW - Fogagogo
Semi Puni - Tafuna
Tupua Roy Fua - A'asu
Nonu Samoa - Leone
The PYCD Board and Management were very excited to have received federal funding to implement this amazing project. To date, we remain committed to helping our local hydroponics farmers grow and develop their businesses because we believe small businesses and agricultural development are key economic drivers for our island community.