Fields to Families
By Lee Miller
On August 1st, for the fifth year in a row, Holy Apostles reached out to our neighbors with gifts of fresh vegetables during the National Night Out party at Conway Rec center in St. Paul. Teng Vue arrived early at Conway and picked out a shady spot under the trees to beat the heat. We set up tables for our “free market” and the line started. In the initial years, people couldn’t believe we were giving out free food, but word got around and it is now a tradition. Four of our farmers delivered approximately 1500 pounds of vegetables which we gave away in an hour. Some of our Karen friends were the first in line at 5:15pm, waiting for the 6:00pm opening. Many of our youth ran the tables, and the adults chatted among themselves, and with people in line.
Before we finished at Conway, a large dance group performed near us on the soccer field. We all marveled at their heart-felt song and dance that lasted for 20 minutes. They appeared to be a Karen group performing the don dance of national unity. Flat Jesus was with us at Conway. Proof is on the Holy Apostles Facebook page.
The Fields to Families project was started in 2011 to provide fresh vegetables to East side residents regardless of income or neighborhood. St. John’s the Evangelist and Holy Apostles work together to provide fresh Hmong vegetables to three East-side food shelves, 20 Karen families living near Holy Apostles, and the First Nations Kitchen. St. John’s hosts a neighborhood Sunday farmer's market in their parking lot. This year, Holy Apostles initiated emergency bags of rice, beans, and tortilla flour for our Hispanic neighbors experiencing immigration stress. St. Paul's diversity makes us all stronger.