Image for July Positive Change: HAFA

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 $10,000 each month for our Positive Change recipients!

Hmong American Farmers Association

July’s Positive Change recipient is The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), a membership-based organization that advances the economic prosperity of Hmong farming families in Minnesota through capacity building, strategic partnerships, cooperative endeavors, community engagement, and advocacy.

Hmong farmers account for over 50% of the farmers in the farmers markets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region. But despite their hard work, they have historically lacked equitable access to land tenure, high-profit 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 works in five main areas:

  1. Incubator Farm & Land: The most pressing challenge for Hmong farmers is gaining long-term access to farmland that is affordable and near their homes. HAFA is working with public and private entities to lease or purchase large tracts of farmland and turn them into agricultural land trusts for farmers. HAFA also manages a 155-acre farm in Vermillion Township where member families can lease land, hone their business and agricultural practices, and sell produce to the HAFA Food Hub.
  2. Alternative Markets Program (AMP): Moving away from the vulnerability of just selling at farmers markets, this program helps farmers expand to new markets through a food hub that pools together farmers’ produce for sale, bringing HAFA produce to more than 250,000 people through schools, restaurants, retailers, and a CSA.
  3. Business Development: Helping farmers access individual development accounts, microloans, and matched savings, and supporting them in developing and launching value-added products.
  4. Trainings: Building capacity of over 500+ farmers through training on soil health, food safety, high tunnels, farm machinery and more.
  5. Research: Farming is dynamic, and constantly evolving. HAFA works to ensure that their members have access to the latest farming techniques.

Donations collected at the registers will support community-based organizations and their Farm to Family implemented program, ensuring equitable access to fresh, locally grown, and culturally appropriate produce grown by Hmong farmers.