But there is a Rochester Village Agricultural Cooperative, which provides opportunities for local communities to produce traditional foods. Most village cooperative farmers live in homes where they cannot grow food, or they want to grow crops to sell in local markets but cannot find farms.
Kim Sine, founder and president of Village Agricultural Cooperatives, found that in 2018, while working with senior members of the Cambodian community in Rochester, many realized that they were not eating healthy. The products they are accustomed to in Cambodia were too expensive to buy in Minnesota, Sin said.
“In the winter, the price of food for them, to eat their traditional food, doubles or triples.” “And I asked them if there was a supply of land to grow and feed themselves in the summer and to keep the money for a healthy diet during the winter?”
The reality seemed to be possible in Sin, where, one day, they drove past Hmong American Farmers Association Farm on Highway 52, along with Rochester Diversity Council.
“And I said I wish we had something like this in Rochester,” Sin said.
Sabol told him that he needed to meet with Amanda Nigon-Kroly, a member of the University Council, so he did. They left the meeting with a complete statement to the organization and even the title of Village Agricultural Cooperative and Learning Community.
Kim Sin and Amanda Nigon-Kroly on November 19, 2021, at one of the six growing village agricultural cooperatives and learning communities. Sin is the founder and president of the charity and Nigon-Cruli is the director general. Noah Asa / Agweek
“Kim, I call it Rock Star and I’m the manager of the band.”
After hearing about Sin’s work on behalf of the University Council, Rochester Home Innovation founder Joselin Rayimuno donated 11 hectares of land to the project. Prior to that, the venue was a rented garden behind the Mayo Stadium, where the Rochester Hockeyball baseball club played in the summer.
Therefore, The sweet Italian chili pepper, which served as a groundbreaking ceremony in 2019, sank to 11 acres[11 ha]. The Village Partnership soon formed an academic partnership with the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Extension, and the Rochester Community and Technical College.
“It was something I never thought I would achieve,” said Sin of the Village. “But the work that has been done is not just me, and Amanda (Nigon-Crowley) was a big part of that and the Diversity Council – it’s a community effort to make the village where we are today, partnerships and relationships.”
Sign on Village Cooperatives and Learning Community in Northwest Rochester, Minnesota November 19, 2021. Noah Asa / Agweek
The non-profit organization now has a total of six hectares growing on eight acres, said Nigon-Crowley, two of which are still under construction. The largest venue at Rochester Covenant Church is next to King Run Creek, with more than 145 gardens serving more than 120 families.
Other lands include a fenced-in garden in the Olympus County Historical Center – surrounded by historic buildings in the late 18th and 19th centuries – one at Rochester John Adams Middle School, and the other at Community Presbyterian Church.
Nigon-Crowley It is difficult to count the number of volunteers who participated this year, but without the cooperation of the village nothing would have happened.
“Most of our success is based entirely on volunteerism, and we have a lot,” says Nigon-Crowley. “We had a service team this summer, and we had cohorts at the University of Minnesota-Rochester, a semester and a summer session.”
The Village Cooperative, which is becoming more and more difficult to count, is now the largest community in the world. The organization started by serving the Cambodian community in Rochester, with a population of 5,000-8,000. It is now serving many of the city’s immigrant communities.
“We have more than 16 different languages - we know they speak – these are official languages and they don’t even count the dialects,” said Nigon-Crowley.
The largest populations of Village Cooperatives come from Cambodia and Kenya, but Nigon-Cruli says it has growers from Mexico, Guatemala, Cameroon, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Iran, Bosnia, Ukraine and Laos.
As long as there is a reserve list for the village, Nigon-Crowley said they will continue to look for land to expand.
“We are also trying to find tomorrow’s farmers, and we are educating people on rehabilitation farming, how to control farming and what the local markets are selling,” she said.
Sign on November 19, 2021, Village Agricultural Cooperative and Learning Community in Northwest Rochester, Minnesota. Noah Asa / Agweek
Initially, Nigon-Crowley said that her and Sin’s vision was practical, focusing on the basic needs of each station, such as water, garbage, parking, and more.
“And as we do that and also grow our business plan and focus on where we want to be, I think I’m starting to see the bigger picture now.
Sin is a lifelong advocate for the Cambodian community, and his initiative has inspired non-profits, but he commended Nigon-Crowley for linking that community and many others to the resources needed to be successful in farming.
“(Growers in the Village Co-op) They say they haven’t grown as much as they used to because they have no one to argue with.” “So when someone wanted to talk to us or tell us something, Amanda was there to meet and find the treasure.”
Kim Sein arrived in Rochester, Cambodia, with his family on July 14, 1983, and landed in a neighborhood near The Miracle Mile, the city’s oldest mall, on Highway 52 near Kutzki Park.
“At that time we would call it Cambodia Park,” Sin said of Kutzky Park in the 80’s.
According to Sin, he grew up cultivating and cultivating Cambodian culture but when they first arrived in Rochester they could not continue.
“We didn’t get that opportunity when we came to America,” he said, even outside his home. “When my mother wanted to grow up in the backyard, the landlord would not allow this because she was hurting their lawn.”
The landlord had to find an interpreter to tell Sin’s mother that she was not allowed to grow things in the backyard.
Sin feels that he and he have come to Rochester more than ever before in the community.