News Release

Growing Stronger Families and Communities in Tahiti

French Polynesian Latter-day Saint families support new community "Kitchen Gardens" program

The city of Arue on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia recently launched a pilot program to build “kitchen gardens,” created and maintained by 10 families. 

The goal of the program is to help communities grow nutritious food at their homes and to also demonstrate teamwork and sharing among neighbors.


The community has provided the land, the seeds and the gardening tools. They have also provided the services of an expert in shared gardening who will provide agricultural training.

The Erima Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was invited to join this initiative. Five families from the congregation volunteered and will provide “soft skills” training on cooperation, growing a strong community and good relationship building skills.

Yolande Bennett, Deputy Mayor of Arue, explained the concept: "From September to December, ten residents will be learning how to set up and maintain a home kitchen garden to meet their needs for fresh vegetables. By working together in a group, it also creates a sense of belonging, a spirit of solidarity, and a sustainable change of behaviour.”

The aim of this project is threefold:

  • allow residents to practice gardening in a collective setting by sharing of common tools and land
  • foster stronger social ties between members, promote intergenerational and intercultural diversity
  • improve awareness of ecological gardening practices and sustainable development

The Bishop of the ward, Manea Tuahu, said that the city has asked them to share principles of Self-Reliance and in addition, the basic rules for harmonious human relationships and the key features of a flourishing community.

“These values are already taught in churches of many denominations,” said Mrs. Bennett. “Who can better teach and underline their importance to all people – without doing any proselytism, of course.”

Bishop Tuahu readily responded to this invitation: “It will be my privilege to share Christian and universal values to contribute to the coming out of a community aspiring to be of one heart and one mind."

Five members of the Erima ward and have taken part in the program over the last five weeks and are committed to learning and to securing a greater level of temporal and spiritual self-reliance.

Sylvana Komoe, who took part in the initiative said, “Thanks to this project, I had the opportunity to meet new people, to learn new techniques for growing all kinds of vegetables. We get along well with all the participants, and it’s a great blessing to be part of this project.”

Another participant, Romia Estall, said, “I have learned that the plants in the kitchen garden need our attention through watering and giving them protection and some good nurturing. Some plants require support, like tomatoes and cucumbers, and need a good stake to support them and facilitate their growth. The strongest like eggplants just need to be well planted and they will do the work all alone.”

She added, “Likewise, in our homes, like these wonderful plants, we have some people who need more of our attention, patience, love and encouragement and others just need a good start.”

At the end of the cycle of four months, the families can choose to stay longer in the program or continue their kitchen garden on their own.

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