The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) will hold its Business Development Program Graduation Celebration Breakfast
and Program on June 9, 2014, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., at Neighborhood House, located in the Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul, MN 55107.
Thirteen Hmong farmers will be celebrated for their successful completion of the Hmong American Farmers Association’s (HAFA) Business Development Program, a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Eastside Financial Center.
Pakou Hang, Executive Director, Hmong American Farmers Association, will welcome guests, along with emcee Viva Yang, Business Development Program Organizer.
Special guests include Colleen Landkamer, State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Minnesota; and Debra Crusoe, executive director, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Minnesota Farm Service Agency.
Other guest speakers include: Sai Thao, AgStar Financial Services; Kevin Plante, Coordinator,
Farmer Assistance Network, MDA; John Flory, Special Projects Director, Latino Economic Development Center; Mike Mastey and Steve Zenk, Ridgewater College; Elena Gaarder, Nexus Community Partners; and Eva Song Margolis, Director, Eastside Financial Center.
For information contact Viva Yang at 651-493-8091 or email [email protected]
HAFA’s Business Development Program is a comprehensive wealth-creation training program that connects low income Twin Cities Hmong farmers with household financial assessments; farm business management trainings; one to one business plan writing sessions; and a matched savings account (also known as Individual Development Account). Furthermore, HAFA’s Business Development Program also helps the immigrant farmers get loans from the state’s many agricultural microloan programs and ultimately purchase assets that will increase the productivity of the farming businesses.
HAFA’s Business Development Program is the first of its kind in the country and was supported through a grant from the USDA Small Socially Disadvantaged Producers Grant program.
The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) is a membership based organization created in October 2011 to serve, support and advocate for Hmong American farmers and their families. The organization’s mission is to advance the economic, social and cultural prosperity of Hmong American farmers through economic development, capacity building, advocacy and research.
More specifically, HAFA uses an organizing approach to work with its members and other farmers in the Hmong community to access land, equipment, capital and trainings so that they can expand and improve their farming operations. HAFA is the only organization in Minnesota that was started by and is led by Hmong American farmers. It is the only one staffed by bi-lingual and bi-cultural Hmong Americans with over 50 years of combined experience in farming, and it is the only one singularly focused on the advancement of Hmong American farmers and their families.
The Eastside Financial Center is a community-based center that offers families and individuals the opportunity to create and build financial assets to improve their financial wellbeing through the combination of services and programs. The Eastside Financial Center seeks to empower people to create and build assets, protect themselves from predatory financial practices, and create a strengthened and equitable community. Services include financial counseling, employment coaching, public benefits access, job-seeker and money management workshops, financial products, and free tax clinics.
The Eastside Financial Center is a service of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, The nonprofit organization, headquartered in St. Paul, is one of the largest statewide social service nonprofits in Minnesota, with 2,300 employees providing services in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties.