Image for August Positive Change: Hmong American Farmers Association

Create Positive Change

Each time you shop at the co-op, you have a chance to directly support local nonprofits by donating your 10-cent reusable bag credits and rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar. It may only be a few cents or spare change, but your generosity makes a huge impact — to the tune of over $11,000 each month for our Positive Change recipients!

Hmong American Farmers Association

August’s Positive Change recipient is the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), a member-based organization started and led by local Hmong farmers who work to uplift immigrant voices while building wealth in Saint Paul’s Hmong American community. HAFA advances the economic prosperity of Hmong farming families in Minnesota through capacity building, strategic partnerships, cooperative endeavors, community engagement and advocacy.

Hmong American farmers have been transforming the local Twin Cities food economy since arriving from Laos and Thailand over 40 years ago as political refugees during the Vietnam War. But despite their hard work, Hmong farmers have historically lacked equitable access to land, markets, capital and credit, and agricultural training and research. As a result, the average Hmong farming family earns significantly less than the median income of Minnesota farmers. HAFA was formed to address these inequities.

HAFA operates a 155-acre farm where members can lease land, hone their farming skills, and sell produce through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program and a cooperative food hub to schools, restaurants, and other local institutions. HAFA is made up of individual farming families; each is its own autonomous business, farming plots of HAFA’s farmland in Vermillion Township, just 15 minutes south of Saint Paul in Dakota County. HAFA’s farmers grow over 160 different kinds of produce, from carrots and kale to ground cherries and lemongrass. Look for their fresh, locally grown produce at the co-op!

In response to urgent community needs resulting from the pandemic, HAFA has sought out community partners through Healing Community Food Drive who are delivering groceries and serving hot meals to people affected by the pandemic. HAFA is supplying fresh, Hmong-grown produce directly to those organizations through their CSA program.

August Positive Change donations will support Farm-to-Family CSA programs, safety training, and the purchase of sanitation equipment for the well-being of farmers.