The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Agriculture, Community, and Natural Resources (ACNR) Land Grant Division hosted a Breadfruit Agroforestry Workshop at the ACNR Conference Room on April 24th. This professional development workshop built upon the time-tested methods of Pacific Islanders, bringing traditional knowledge into a modern context while retaining the cultural roots of breadfruit.
“We are here to share with you what’s happening in the world with breadfruit,” said Dr. Craig Elevitch, one of the workshop facilitators and an educator in agroforestry and sustainable human agroecosystems from Hawaii. “Even though this is the home of breadfruit, the rest of the world has discovered it and is using it more and more in creative and innovative ways.”
This workshop was the final stop in a series of professional development workshops that have been held throughout the Pacific for agricultural professionals, growers, processors, policymakers, educators, extension agents, and others interested in revitalizing breadfruit use. “The workshop provides learning opportunities for presenters and participants to share knowledge, innovations, entrepreneurial enterprises, especially reflecting on the wisdom of our ancestors in using ‘ulu’ for agroforestry, traditional food preparation, construction of traditional guest houses and canoes, handicrafts, medicine. All of this demonstrates the cultural importance of ‘ulu’ in Samoan legends, history, and oratory,” said ASCC-ACNR Director Aufa‘i Apulu Ropeti Areta.
Attending the workshop were the Department of Commerce’s Director Fuiavailiili Keniseli Lafaele; Fishery Development Coordinator Tamatoa Tony Langkilde and Liaison Officer Fa‘au Seumanutafa; Deputy Director Sala Dr. Mataese Samuelu and representatives from the Department of Agriculture; Swains Island Representative Su‘a Alexander Jennings; ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato; ASCC Vice President of Administration and Finance Dr. Lina Galea‘i-Scanlan; founding ACNR Director of the ASCC Land Grant Program HC Tauiliili Pemerika; ACNR Entomologist Dr. Mark Schmaedick; ASCC-ACNR research and extension staff, several community participants, and students from the Nuuuli Vocational Technical High School under the School to Work Program.
ASCC President Dr. Makaiwi-Pato provided the opening remarks, followed by a series of presentations. Workshop facilitators Dr. Elevitch and Mr. Jim Currie presented on current developments in breadfruit revitalization, breadfruit products, food safety, agroforest planning, and the effect of breadfruit trees on soil in agroforestry. ACNR Horticulture Researcher Dr. Ian Gurr presented on the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) programs and grant opportunities. Pastor and Agriculture Extension Program Manager Autagavaia Tunai Alfred Peters offered the opening and closing prayers.
Former ACNR Director HC Tauiliili Pemerika spoke about the use of breadfruit in the Samoan culture and breadfruit agroforestry in American Samoa. Swains Island Representative Su‘a spoke about his work to develop a gluten-free breadfruit flour. Local business owner Tina Reid of Cheat Day shared her utilization of breadfruit in baked goods. A group discussion was held at the end of the workshop followed by closing remarks from ASCC Vice-President of Administration and Finance Dr. Galea‘i-Scanlan.
“Breadfruit trees are still here, and your example in American Samoa is one that the world can follow in terms of growing breadfruit sustainably, consuming and embracing breadfruit as part of a healthy, nutritious diet,” said Dr. Elevitch. The workshop was supported in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. The workshop was organized by ASCC-ACNR, Permanent Agriculture Resources, and Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu. The Hawaii Homegrown Food Network, Agroforestry Net, Olohana Foundation, and the Global Biodiversity Heritage Council provided additional support. For more information on WSARE program and grant opportunities, contact ASCC-ACNR Horticulture Researcher Dr. Ian Gurr at 699-1575 ext. 234.