Beverly Arp is a force to be reckoned with.
Affectionately known as Bev to most, at 68 years old she owns and manages a successful catering business, supports her children’s businesses as needed and operates a commercial dragon fruit farm from her home in Alafua.
In addition to her professional convictions, Bev is a strong advocate for the promotion of locally grown organic produce and farming.
Bev is a passionate supporter of farming for income generation and has been member of the Samoa Womens Association of Growers (SWAG) for the past four years.
“I like that it is organic based, and promotes growing to support families.”
Despite her thriving business and several commitments, Bev still manages to find time to give back to the community through training programs and workshops that allow for the sharing of her knowledge and skills in farming.
Bev has delivered workshops to SWAG members on various topics such as utilizing local foods to create preservatives and chutneys.
Just this past Saturday, Bev held a Dragon Fruit workshop at her home and farm for all SWAG members.
“Even though I am not a teacher, I agreed to do this training because I have a Dragon Fruit farm. I am hoping that the workshop has ignited an interest in Dragon Fruit, and that more people consider growing it commercially.”
Bev is one of only two commercial growers of Dragon Fruit, and received her first cuttings from her sister who had been growing the fruit for several years before she herself took it up.
“I use the Dragon fruit in my catering. It also fills the land up, is low maintenance and is profitable.”
“It is a very beneficial fruit, especially for people with diabetes as it’s not overly sweet, and contains a lot of vitamins.”
Other crops grown at Bev’s home include avocados, limes and lemons.
She relays that her specialty is in growing herbs and vegetables, and explains where her passion for local produce stems from.
“My father was a full time planter. He grew a lot of vegetables, bananas, and that’s how we lived, from the land. That’s my relaxation, to go out in the garden, early in the morning and do a little bit. Gardening keeps you fit. It’s good for your soul.”
The workshop facilitated by Bev oversaw thirty SWAG members in attendance, and was made possible through the partnership between M.A.F. and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (I.F.A.D.) and distributed from the Pacific Island Rural and Agricultural Stimulus (P.I.R.A.S.) Facility.
The P.I.R.A.S. Facility aims to support COVID-19 food systems and economic recovery across villages by targeting women and youth actively working in the sector to improve sustainable food production and nutrition while also strengthening inclusive local chains.
Bev shared her hopes for the participants following the session.
“I hope that after this session, people are inspired to start farming. Like anything, perseverance and a deep commitment are needed before anything can be successful.”