Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)
“Preserving Hmong Cultural Farming Traditions” is a project devoted to documenting, through photography, videography, and oral interviews, the unique agricultural practices, traditions, and stories of Hmong farmers. Farming is an intrinsic element of Hmong heritage and identity. But very little of the knowledge and experience of Hmong farmers is being passed down to Hmong youth. This project will document and preserve Hmong farming stories and agricultural traditions for future generations.
Kee Vang (St Paul, MN) Kee was a part of the Truth and Transformation conference/work with MHC, and is also serving on the immigrant cultural heritage panel. He is Hmong.
Tori Hong (Minneapolis, MN) Tori Hong is a Hmong and Korean illustrator, facilitator, and consultant. She was recommended by a Hmong artist/individual that knows MHC’s work well.
Kabo Yang (Little Canada, MN) Kabo Yang has been a panelist with MHC for prior grants. Her work focuses on identity-driven leadership, culturally-affirming nonprofit management and inclusion initiatives.
Minnesota Humanities Center
$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.
HAFA’s measurable outcomes for this project fall into three main goal areas. We use a combination of quantitative and qualitative measurements when evaluating grant outcomes, such as evaluating metrics, conducting surveys, group discussions, and one-on-one interviews. Each of these methods are applied as appropriate for the outcome in question.
> Documentation and Preservation of Cultural Traditions
HAFA will be gathering information about the agricultural practices and traditions specific to Hmong culture and Hmong farmers. Measurable outcomes include:
- Interviewing each of HAFA’s Hmong farmer-members, currently numbered at 20, in their homes;
- Photographing each of HAFA’s Hmong farmer-members at work in the fields as they execute Hmong-specific farming practices;
- Capturing video footage of HAFA’s Hmong farmer members during interviews.
This portion of the project will be a success if photographs of every farmer are taken in the field, every farmer is successfully interviewed, and if every interview is successfully captured through video footage. The materials gathered during this phase will be used as the basis for creating the gallery show and coffee table book, and a presentation materials for Hmong youth outreach.
> Increased Connection with Hmong Youth
HAFA will reach out to Hmong youth organizations and younger Hmong individuals who are interested in farming, for the purpose of educating them about Hmong agricultural traditions and reconnecting them with that portion of their heritage. Measurable outcomes include:
- Distributing coffee table books directly to at least 25 Hmong youth;
- Have at least 100 Hmong youth attend the public gallery exhibit at the end of the project.
We will consider this part of the project a success using quantitative measurements and meeting these numeric goals. However, we will also be evaluating the success of our outreach efforts by talking directly with Hmong youth, conducting surveys, and keeping track of interest in our “New Hmong Farmer Fellowship” program. Our hope is that sharing this information will generate more interest in farming among Hmong youth and they will begin to pursue agricultural careers for themselves.
> Increased Public Awareness
HAFA will be disseminating the information we gather in order to educate the public about the importance of Hmong farmers to the local food economy, and celebrate their cultural heritage and traditions as it relates to farming and agriculture. Measurable outcomes include;
- Hosting a public gallery show, attended by at least 500 people, consisting of photographs, videos, and oral histories, for the greater public’s consumption and education;
- Printing and releasing a 50 page coffee table books to HAFA’s organizational partners, the Eastside Freedom Library, and Hmong youth, which will include the photographs and written materials gathered during the project;
- Distributing 25 coffee table books to partner organizations, libraries, Hmong youth, and members of the general public.
The success of these outcomes will be evaluated based on meeting our numeric goals, but also on the elevated interest and inquiries we receive as a result of publishing the information we gather during the project and in making it accessible to the public through the gallery show. In the past, we have also evaluated our success based on an uptick in sales for our farmers at Farmers Markets and of our Food Hub’s CSA program, however during the COVID-19 pandemic this may not be a reliable way to gauge success. However, as publishing the coffee table book and putting on the public gallery show will not occur until late 2021, we will reevaluate using sales as a measurable outcome at that time.