Ten new farmers are being trained in three different systems of hydroponics under a project that is intended to get more families eating nutritious vegetables , thereby reducing non communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
Funding from the US Department of Agriculture, through the local non profit group Pacific Youth and Community Development has established three new greenhouse and hydroponic farms in the territory.
This is part of a three-year project to respond to the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity on island and also to enhance economic development in agriculture.
The 10 farmers will be trained for 480 hours over an 8 month period in hydroponic farming. One of the vegetables they will be growing is lettuce.
Project Manager Brooke Gurr said participants are getting on the farm training from mentor farmers at Avegalio Farm in Pavaiai, Tutuila Green in Tafeta, and Hirata Hydrogarderns in Iliili.
The three awardees who have fulfilled the training and who have also opened new farms are Jennet Chang and family of MNR Farm, Tumuai and Dustin Snow of Super Star Produce, and Semi Puni of Collin’s Greens.
Each recipient received a greenhouse and hydroponic system valued at $15,000.
The fruits of their labor can now be found in local stores.
Gurr emphasized that “we are often reminded of our reliance in imported goods, especially as boats are delayed and grocery shelves go empty.”