Celebrating 30 years of Farm Aid giving

Minnesota Food Association

CA

Marine on Saint Croix, MN

Rhona and Moses Momanyi.

Minnesota Food Association’s (MFA) mission is to build a more sustainable food system based on social, economic and environmental justice. This often means working with immigrants to the United States who are trying their hand at farming in this country, like Moses Momanyi, who grew up on a farm in western Kenya.

For Moses of Dawn 2 Dusk Farm it’s all about “the farming lifestyle.” He says: “it’s in me, and it’s in my family.” And it’s definitely in their work ethic, as Moses and his wife, Rhona, work everyday—from dawn to dusk—in their fields. When he came to the U.S., Moses took a variety of jobs, like working nights at Wal-Mart,

Dawn to Dusk’s farmers’ market display.

Dawn to Dusk’s farmers’ market display.

working as a nurse-aid, a truck driver and a door-to-door vacuum salesman. These jobs failed to ignite his passions or satisfy his love of the land and growing food. So he began to search for a way to farm again.

In 2008, Moses and Rhona enrolled in Minnesota Food Association’s farmer training program. “If I hadn’t come to MFA, I couldn’t have figured out how to do wholesale, or the CSA, or farmers markets,” says Moses. In 2014, Moses and Rhona graduated from MFA, and purchased their own farm in Cambridge, Minnesota. Their new business is flourishing, with four different farmers’ market stalls, a 30+ member CSA and various wholesale accounts. Getting to this point has required a lot of perseverance, hard work and motivation.

A member of Karen Family Farm bunching and cleaning carrots for the Big River Farms CSA.

A member of Karen Family Farm bunching and cleaning carrots for the Big River Farms CSA.

Farm Aid grants fund MFA’s Big River Farms Immigrant & Minority Farmer Training Program, which exists to help historically underserved farmers thrive. This program provides new farmers with land, infrastructure, training, marketing and distribution channels.

Lay Moo at work in his bed of cilantro.

Lay Moo at work in his bed of cilantro.

“Farm Aid has been a longtime supporter of MFA, and our work, and this reliable source of funding has allowed us to continually expand and improve our programs each year.” They credit Farm Aid with helping them meet the needs of a diverse farmer population, “who are thus better equipped to be successful in their new farming businesses.”

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