John Lor, Tou SaiKo and Kia Xiong lead a great discussion with several members of the young Hmong community in Frogtown. There was a general consensus that gardening was something that they grew up with, and continue to be a foundation of their parents’ generation, but hasn’t been as prominent in their contemporary lives. There were several young parents in attendance, they were excited to have a new green agricultural resource in Frogtown to teach their children about the farming tradition in Hmong culture.
Frogtown residents listen as John Lor explains why he got involved and how the project is important to his Hmong heritage and raising his children in St. Paul.
Tou SaiKo also advocates for the project, he is interested in the youth connection to the land and using the farm as an organizing tool for Frogtown.
John Lor ordered quite a spread. A wise man once said, ‘There’s no meetin’ without eatin’.
Chris Edwards, a neighbor and proud urban chicken owner, held a small meeting to bring her neighbors together to talk about the project. Using a game board of the park site and set of game pieces by Rebar, residents were able to design their fantasy farm!
Kia Xiong a local youth offers of her engagement work: “During the last few weeks I talked to many Hmong families. some really like the ideas of a farm in Frogtown. They are very excited about it. I am very happy to help spread the word of Frogtown Farm”
Kia, a seasoned participant in local youth leadership organization, Youth Farm, has been helping to connect outreach efforts to youth and Hmong communities in the neighborhood.
Here is a sketch Kia contributed- a Frogtown Frog enthusiastic about Frogtown Park and Farm!
First impression of Frogtown Farm from community ambassador Frogtown resident and gardener Kathy Donovan:
“The surprising thing about it is that there us quite a large flat area up at the top of the hill. We were told by a city of St.Paul planner that the hill is the highest point in St.Paul. When I went up there, I discovered that there is a wonderful view of the St.Paul Skyline. This will be a great place for a park and urban farming. Can you just imagine sitting at a picnic table in the cool breeze and eating your favorite picnic food!”
In late November Kathy held a community meeting in her building located across the street from the future Frogtown Park and Farm. Building residents came together sharing hot cocoa and their visions for the park. As a group, residents were excited to be getting a new park so close to their home.