The Hmong American Farmers Association was recently awarded $247,425 from the Bush Foundation as part of the 2017 Bush Prize for Community Innovation.

"Immigrant farmers and field workers are often invisible, overlooked or under-appreciated for their enormous contributions to the national and local food economies," said Pakou Hang, HAFA executive director and one of its co-founders. "We are humbled and honored by the Bush Prize because it recognizes Hmong farmers and their entrepreneurial spirit. In this season of thanksgiving, we hope people will thank a farmer and remember that we are all in this together."

The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth. The foundation works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. The foundation received 127 applications for the Bush Prize this year. Three panels of community members chose the winners from their respective states.

There were a total of seven organizations who won including HAFA, Appetite for Change in Minneapolis, Latino Economic Development Center in St. Paul, Northfield Healthy Community Initiative in Northfield, Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons in Fargo, Vision West ND/Dunn County in Dickinson, North Dakota and Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in Porcupine, South Dakota.