Every Friday The Foundry Home Goods donates 5% of our total sales to a different community-nominated small-and-mighty cause. This Friday's Foundry Giving Friday recipient? Hmong American Farmers Association!
Do you love our incredible local Minneapolis and Saint Paul farmer's markets? Well, you might want to thank a Hmong farmer.
Since Hmong refugees began resettling from Laos and Thailand to Minnesota in the 1970s as political refugees after the Vietnam War, many of those families have relied on their agricultural heritage to make a living growing produce and flowers for local farmers markets.
By the late 1980s, Hmong farmers had revitalized the Saint Paul and Minneapolis Farmers Markets, transforming them into some of the most vibrant markets in the country, while also changing Minnesota's taste buds for Thai chili peppers and Chinese bok choy (yes, please). Today, Hmong farmers are at the center of a Minnesota-based local foods economy that, according to AgStar Financial Services, generates over $250 million in annual sales. Without Hmong farmers literally laying the groundwork, the explosion of awareness and interest in local foods and small-scale farming in Minnesota would not be possible.
While Hmong farmers make up over 50% of all farmers serving metropolitan farmers markets, they continue to face many barriers to accessing land, financing, training, research and markets, and building sustainable family businesses.
Founded in 2011, the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) works to advance the prosperity of Hmong American farmers through cooperative endeavors, capacity building, and advocacy—to lead the charge in reforming an unjust food system from the ground up. Through collective farm business development, education, and advocacy, HAFA is building paths to wealth creation—not just income generation—toward a sustainable, fair food economy for all.
We are pleased and proud to support this excellent, delicious work, this Giving Friday and always. If you don't need anything from us, consider donating to HAFA directly.
If you DO find yourself in need of a market basket for your farmers market bounties or a the perfect jar for making your own Zaub Quab (Hmong Pickled Greens), know that your purchase goes to support good change happening on the community level.
If YOU have a worthy cause to nominate for our Foundry Giving Friday initiative, pop on over to our Nomination Page and drop us a line. We're all in this together.
*photo from @hafafarmers c/o Mike Hazard