Summer brings warm nights, tasty berries, and an abundance of fresh produce. At Hope Organic, Tou Vang and his family strive to raise high quality produce for their customers. We talked with Farmer Tou to learn the ins and outs of making the transition to farming on new land.
A self-proclaimed jack of all trades, Tou Vang produces almost every edible plant that’s able to be grown in Minnesota. Tou and his family started farming in 2010. Originally producing flowers, the family quickly realized they wanted to make the transition to growing produce. Since beginning to farm, Tou’s goal has always been to produce organic food. But when it comes to land, certified organic parcels are hard to come by.
Through mutual involvement in Growing Hope Foundation, Tou discovered that Sam Kedem, of Sam Kedem Nursery & Garden, wanted to transition into retirement. For Sam, just selling the land was not in the cards. However, finding the next steward of the land to continue the farming operation takes time and consideration. This year, the Vang family is leasing the land from Sam, and if all goes well, they plan to purchase the farm next year.
The gradual transition from experienced farmer to beginning farmer is a mutually beneficial arrangement. “I’ve always dreamed of owning my own land”, Tou stated. “Sam has a really nice establishment. If we started our own farm it would take us a decade to be at the place he is now.” Juggling everything happening on the farm at once can be challenging. Sam acts as a guide and mentor for Tou. For at least 60 hours a month, Sam and Tou work together on the land. Sam is able to pass down all of his farming knowledge to live on in the next generation of farmers. In turn, Tou learns about the land and established farming operation that will continue at the newly formed Hope Organic.
When asked about his transition to farming, Tou expressed his love of being outdoors. “Farming helps me improve my body”, he said. “I know where my food came from, who grew it and how it was grown.” Farmer Tou emphasized his belief in ensuring that everyone has a choice when it comes to food. “I believe that everybody has the right to healthy food”, expressed Farmer Tou. With the help of his family, Tou now works on the farm full time to bring nutritious food to consumers in the metro area.
Interested in buying produce directly from Hope Organic? Stop by the farm in Hastings or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about hours, availability, and the pack-your-own CSA. Produce available at the Eagan Farmers Market, Edina Centennial Lakes Farmers Market, Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market, Seward Community Coop, and Spiral Natural Foods Coop in Hastings. Stock up on your favorite summer produce today!