Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the Annual Co-op Owners Meeting as we recognize and understand the vital role of Hmong American farmers and Hmong culture in our local food system. Share a meal full of Hmong flavors designed by Chef Yia Vang and learn how Hmong American farmers are organizing to access land, markets, capital, research and training so that they can build intergenerational and community wealth. Our featured speaker is Pakou Hang. (See bio below.)
We will also share the results of the board of directors election, and announce SEED recipients for 2020, including the results of our second Community Choice SEED vote!
Continuing our Exploration of Equity in the Food System
The 2019 Annual Owner Meeting is the third installment in an intentional, co-op-wide exploration of equity in the food system. At the 2017 Annual Meeting, Seward Co-op hosted Tunde Wey, a Nigerian chef who led staff in the preparation of a Nigerian meal and a discussion about Blackness, immigration and labor in America. In 2018, Sean Sherman and The Sioux Chef designed the menu and offered teachings on indigenous food sovereignty and the impact of white supremacy on Indigenous people. This year, we connect the dots to immigrant and refugee communities through powerful stories about the challenges and successes of Hmong American farmers organizing to access land and markets in our local food system.
Featured Speaker: Pakou Hang
Pakou Hang is a co-founder and the executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), a membership based nonprofit organization that was created in 2011 to lift up Hmong American farmers and their families. The organization’s mission is to advance the economic prosperity of Hmong farmers through advocacy, capacity building, and cooperative enterprises. More specifically, HAFA uses an organizing approach to work with its members and their family members to access land, markets, capital, research and training so that they can build intergenerational and community wealth. Pakou has also worked for over 15 years as a community organizer first as the campaign manager for State Senator Mee Moua’s inaugural special election, then as deputy political director for U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone’s last senate campaign. Pakou has also served as the Minnesota field director for America Votes and deputy vice president for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C.
Guest Chef: Yia Vang
Yia Vang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and his father and mother moved their family to the US in 1988. He is co-founder of Union Hmong Kitchen, a Twin Cities-based Hmong restaurant with a residency at Sociable Cider Werks. He is passionate about making the food he grew up with more accessible to non-Hmongs, while also passing traditions down to the next generation of Hmong Americans.
While working in some of the foremost kitchens of Minneapolis, he began to find his own voice in showcasing Hmong food. His belief is that Hmong food isn’t a type of food but it’s a philosophy of food. Hmong food is not defined by its product. It’s defined by its process. He believes that the melding of many cultures plays a role in the cultural DNA of the Hmong people. “Our history is intrinsically woven into the food we eat,” he says. “Every dish has a narrative, and if you follow that narrative closely enough, you understand the people.” Yia also brings flavor, fire, and a passion for storytelling through food.
RSVP to the Annual Owner Meeting today!