Fields to Families: Since 2011, Holy Apostles Church has delivered tens of thousands of pounds of fresh produce to several metro area foodshelves, feeding hundreds of families. The produce was grown by Hmong farmers who attend Holy Apostles in St. Paul, with funds from generous donors, big and small.
Fields to Families, was started in 2011 as a demonstration project. Wa Meng Lor, our senior warden, and members of Holy Apostles met to explore if our farmers were interested in supplying fresh produce.
Two couples, Mr. and Mrs. Vang Yer Chang and Mr. and Mrs. Nor Yang Chang agreed, and four other families were added mid-season. Our small-scale farmers do most everything by hand without using pesticides. They farm only a few acres, but achieve high output by growing multiple plantings per season.
Nor Yang Chang and his wife, Pa Lee, rent a 3-acre plot of land just south of Stillwater.
They grow everything from peas to raspberries and usually sell their produce at local farmers’ markets. But they were happy to have a steady buyer, this summer, and to provide food to families who don’t have the money to buy fresh produce .
We work closely with Merrick Community Services
foodshelf, which serves a large Asian population on the Eastside of St. Paul. Deu Lor, a staff member of the Merrick food shelf, said this was the first time they have had fresh produce directly from the field, and people are really happy to get it for their families.
We continue to recruit volunteers, building relationships with the farmers, food shelves, and investors. Eventually, we dream of finding farmland that can be used by the farmers rent-free, and be a stable place for them to farm for years to come. We’re currently exploring some possibilities in the east-metro area.
How can you help? :
Invest in the Project.
We invite you to make a tax-deductible contribution to “Fields to Families.” The cost to provide fresh produce to families in need is less than $1 per pound. No amount of money is too small, and every penny is used to buy food. You may send a check to Holy Apostles Episcopal Church, 2200 E. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul, MN 55119. Be sure to write: “Fields to Families” on the memo line.
Contribute your time.
Help establish a connection with your organization and local food shelf, and help with deliveries.
Donate the use of land.
There are thousands of skilled farmers in need of land. Farming is a part of their heart and soul.
Read an article here about the new farmers’ market in St. Paul, a collaboration with St. John the Evangelist and Holy Apostles farmers.