Farm to School

  • Saint Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services is proud to announce a new partnership with the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA).

    Farming is an integral part of the Hmong culture. Through their small scale farms, HAFA farmers will provide 2,400 pounds of carrots for October and November’s Minnesota Thursdays!

     Farmer Name: Judy Yang (farms with her husband Blia Yao Yang)Crop planted for SPPS: Carrots

    Farmer Name:  Judy Yang (farms with her husband Blia Yao Yang) Crop planted for SPPS: Carrots Carrot Photo:  HAFA/Mike Hazard

    Judy is originally from Laos and has lived in Minnesota for about 25 years. She first moved to Fresno, California, but moved to Minnesota to be with relatives because her family is more important to her than nice weather. She grew up farming in Laos where the crops are much different from what she’s currently growing here in Minnesota. In the Laotian climate, foods like rice, bananas and pineapple grow well. Now, her family grows tomatoes, garlic, carrots, cucumber, potatoes, onions, and many other crops. Her favorite food to grow in Minnesota is tomatoes. Judy’s favorite part of being a farmer is that she owns her own business. She works about 13 hours a day (6 a.m. - 8 p.m.) during the growing season, but is able take vacations, spend time with her grandchildren, and use winter to plan for the next growing season.

    Carrot Photo: HAFA/ Mike Hazard

    The hardest part of Judy’s job is the physical labor, particularly, weeding. One of the hardest crops to grow is carrots because the seeds are so tiny that they tend to get planted very close to each other. Carrots require multiple harvests to thin the crop so large carrots can be harvested in September. Judy and her husband sell their harvests at the farmer’s markets in St. Paul, White Bear Lake and Eagan.

    SPPS Nutrition Services is excited to feature Judy’s carrots for Minnesota Thursdays in October and November. For more information on HAFA, visit

    Minnesota Thursdays
    Lunch at school on the first Thursday or every month will feature seasonal Minnesota-grown ingredients! It's a special way to highlight local farmers, ranchers, and companies while providing fresh, delicious lunch options for students. The initiative is a special partnership between Saint Paul Public Schools and Minneapolis Public Schools, and students in both of the Twin Cities districts will enjoy the same Minnesota Thursday lunch. Click here to learn more about the meals being served or click here to check out our interactive menus.