kava plant

Cultivating Traditions: Preserving Pasifika Agricultural Heritage Through Kava Farming in Florida

In the vast expanse of the Americas, a lost Pasifika tradition finds its roots once again. Far away from the shores of Tonga, a land with a rich agricultural heritage, Matt Masifilo, the founder of Kavafied, is forging a path to preserve and carry forward a vital piece of his ancestry. In this blog post, we delve into the significance of cultivating and growing kava, a sacred plant, and the profound connection it creates between generations.

A Journey from Hawaii to America:

For Matt Masifilo, growing up in Hawaii provided a unique cultural backdrop that shaped his perspective on preserving his Pasifika heritage. Although his grandfather passed away when his father was a child, the stories and memories passed down to him infused a deep sense of reverence for their Tongan roots. Now, in America, he carries the torch of their wisdom, breathing life into a tradition that was once nearly forgotten.

tonga eua

Preserving Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge:

The act of continuing the cultivation of kava in the Americas is more than a mere homage to ancestral practices—it is a vital effort to preserve indigenous agricultural knowledge. By engaging with the land and embracing the techniques that have withstood the test of time, Matt not only safeguards a treasured legacy but also ensures that future generations can connect with their roots and understand the importance of sustainable farming practices.

kava cuttings

A Sacred Bond with Kava:

Kava holds a special place in the hearts of Pasifika communities. Beyond being a traditional beverage, it is a conduit for unity, ceremony, and connection. The process of cultivating kava nurtures a deep bond between Matt and his daughter, as they work side by side, propagating the plant through cuttings, tending to the crop, and reaping the rewards of their labor. Through this shared experience, Matt passes on not just practical knowledge but also a profound sense of identity and cultural pride.

kava planting

Fostering Cultural Resilience:

In a world rapidly embracing globalization, the cultivation of kava in the Americas becomes an emblem of cultural resilience. It is a testament to the strength and determination of Pasifika communities to preserve their heritage in the face of modernization and assimilation. Through initiatives like Kavafied, Matt Masifilo provides a platform for Pasifika people to reclaim their agricultural traditions and share them with a wider audience, fostering understanding and appreciation for the beauty and wisdom embedded within their culture.

kava farm


As the sun sets over the kava fields in Florida, the legacy of Matt's ancestors lives on, intertwined with the aspirations and dreams he holds for his daughter's future. The act of cultivating and growing kava in the Americas is a testament to the resilience and determination of Pasifika communities to honor their ancestral knowledge, and to create a bridge between past and present. Through their efforts, traditions are revived, indigenous agricultural wisdom is preserved, and a vibrant tapestry of cultural heritage is woven anew.

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