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Gary Braasch
Photographer & Journalist
PO Box 1465
Portland, OR 97207 USA
Phone: 503.860.1228

Environmental Photography


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Tuvalu 2011 (6)

Tuvalu 2011

In one of the greenhouses of the Taiwan garden in Fongefale, Funafuti Tuvalu, Maleko Munatu harvests pak choi. Spread across several hectares along the runway, the working farm is a gift to Tuvalu from the Republic of China, Taiwan, through their international cooperation and development fund. Fongefale Islet has very poor soils because of its coral rock substrate, and few people have gardens.


In the Taiwan garden, Pepesala Viliamu waters marigolds and tomatoes. Changes are planned to reduce water loss and increase size of greenhouses to protect plants and soil from heat. According to staff members, during a drought in November to January the rainwater tanks went dry. The garden tried desalinated water which may, along with the heat, have damaged salt-sensitive plants like lettuce.


Gardeners carefully transplant cabbage alongside raised beds of long beans. In soil and amendments imported from Taiwan, Fiji and elsewhere, the garden cultivates cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, green oinions, cabbage, corn, peppers, pak choi and pawpaw Compost is created locally by the Waste Management department. Produce is sold to local community members and seeds and seedlings are sent to outer islands.


Chin-da Chung of Taiwan is an assistant to the garden manager, serving for a year of community service in lieu of military service in Taiwan. He has a masters in agriculture.


Talafai Mano picking long beans, a very successful crop this year. Garden pests are a problem in the tropics and organic gardening in this situation is not feasible. Insecticide aplications include Imidacloprid, thiocarbamates, napthylacetamide, and piperazine, among others.


Harvest of greens with a traditional oriental knife.


The garden was established because the Mission of Taiwan wanted to encourage people to eat vegatables to combat obesity, in cooperation with the Tuvalu national government. Each Friday, people line up to take a number to buy food from the week's harvest (this woman has number 101 in a line that began with number 50).


At the Friday sale of produce at the Taiwan garden in Fongafale, Tuvalu, Paani Munatu lays out cucumbers and beans for customers to choose from.


Residents pack vegetables into bags at the Friday sale of produce at the Taiwan garden in Fongafale, Tuvalu.


The weekly vegetable and fruit market at the Taiwan garden in Fongafale, Tuvalu, is a community event, with neighbors vying good naturedly over who will get the best and widest selection. On this day, 19 February 2011, 64 people bought 5-600 kg of produce at an average price of $3 per kg.


Cucumbers weigh down the scale at the purchasing table at the weekly vegetable and fruit sale at Taiwan garden in Fongafale, Tuvalu. The garden was established by the Technical Mission of Taiwan in cooperation with Tuvalu, to encourage people toward better nutrition. On some other days produce is also sold near the Government Center.


Agricultural extension officer Akinese Sianoa, at left, calculated the weight and price of each purchase. This day 64 people bought a total of about $1500 in pawpaw, cucumbers, squash, beans, tomatoes and eggpant. The weekly market is a community event, with neighbors vying good naturedly over who will get the best and widest selection.

1. Tuvalu, tiny atoll nation of the Pacific
2. The fate of islands as sea level rises
3. Tuvalu high tide kids, six years later
4. King high tides flood parts of Tuvalu Part 1, Part 2
5. People and stories of Tuvalu
6. A Garden Grows in Tuvalu
7. Kiribati
8. Solar Power for Small Islands
9. A Village in Fiji
10. Measuring Carbon in Hawaii's Forests



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Photography and text Copyright © 2005 - 2017 (and before) Gary Braasch All rights reserved. Use of photographs in any manner without permission is prohibited by US copyright law. Photography is available for license to publications and other uses. Please contact View more of Gary Braasch's photography here.