The Nation’s First Hmong-Owned and -Operated Farm

For the primary time in US historical past, Hmong American farmers have gone from farmland renters to homeowners.

The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)—an affiliation based in 2011 by a bunch of farmers in Minnesota trying to advocate for Hmong American farmers within the state—says that the current buy of 155 acres of Minnesota farmland marks the primary time in American historical past that Hmong farmers personal and function their very own farm operation on US soil. 

For years, the farmers rented the acreage, situated within the Vermillion Township (Dakota County) of Minnesota. Now, 16 Hmong households—all members of the HAFA—chipped in to buy and share the land. 

Access to land possession has been a long-time hurdle for BIPOC farmers. According to USDA and census knowledge, Black, Indigenous and different individuals of shade domesticate lower than one % of American farmland, no matter accounting for almost one-quarter of the nation’s inhabitants. 

And in response to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, entry to land is the primary barrier that new farmers face. And with centuries of structural racism throughout the pathway to land possession for farmers, the burden of buying land is traditionally heavier for farmers of shade—leading to white farmers proudly owning 98 % of American farmland

The current buy, finalized in early October, marks a serious milestone for the HAFA, which took to social media to rejoice the achievement. The affiliation and farmers bought the land with cash acquired by means of grants and group help. 

Of the 155 acres of land bought, 125 acres are tillable. Currently, greens and crops akin to corn, tomatoes, parsley, inexperienced beans and cabbage are cultivated on the land. As of now, the produce grown on the farm is offered at farmers’ markets and provides meals to a seasonal subscription service in addition to a program referred to as Veggie RX. The Veggie RX program is run with the intention of mitigating malnutrition and starvation by means of produce donation. 

In the close to future, the HAFA hopes to boost sufficient cash to buy 1,000 fruit timber so as to add to the swath of land.