We are really hoping to raise money for relief aid…even with the profit loss…they were still able to donate weekly to food banks.

Bao Xiong

Cooking with Bao , For Independent Hmong Farmers Corp.

Bao, founder of For Independent Hmong Farmers Corp. is asking individuals and supporters to help with the campaign and encourage area businesses to invest in the Hmong Farmers community. From donating as little as $1, to sharing the GoFundMe campaign with friends, let’s lend a hand to our community members who give generously.

This podcast is sponsored by Artspire La Crosse.

Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by Artspire presented by the Pump House Regional Art Center to attract, engage, and connect artists in the community through an Art Fair and Sale on Saturday, June 12. Information is that artspire.thepumphouse.org .Today we’re letting you know about a special fundraiser close to our hearts. The Cooking with Bao fundraiser. Bao, founder of For Independent Hmong Farmers Corp is asking individuals and supporters to help with the campaign and encourage area businesses to invest in the Hmong farmers community. They keep our farmers market vibrant, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables, along with donating their produce to area food shelters. Can you imagine our farmers markets without Hmong farmers? From donating as little as $1, to sharing the GoFundMe campaign with friends, let’s lend a hand to our community members who give generously. You can find more about the campaign on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.

Brent Hanifl 01:06
So as we’re all aware, 2020 had a substantial economic impact on area businesses, and especially Hmong farmer vendors that are in the area, your organization For Independent Hmong Farmers Corporation is kicking off an area fundraiser in support of the area farmers. What do you hope to get out of this fundraiser?

Bao Xiong 01:25
I mean, the previous years, we were just bringing awareness and advocacy for the farmers here locally and La Crosse County. For years, a lot of people weren’t aware that the farmers are Hmong, or that they’re local, because of the pandemic, their struggles have increased. And we’re really hoping to just help raise money for relief aid, really what this is about, to help them along with their financial struggles that they have experienced all last year. And again this year.

Brent Hanifl 01:55
Yeah, I know, we’ve talked about in the past, just actually, you know, planting the seedlings, getting all the equipment that you need to actually grow the vegetables, and with 2020 people not showing up to buy the product, while still simultaneously all these farmers are still giving to area food banks, right?

Bao Xiong 02:13
Yes. So even with the profit loss, the large amount of profit loss that Hmong farmers experienced last year, there were still able to donate weekly to food banks, such as the Hunger Task Force, and other local food pantries that would ask them. Again, you know, like the struggles that they face every year on a regular basis would be maintenance to tellers, their work vehicles, they rent a lot of their land, they have a lot of fees at every market, there’s a fee, except for the one in Onalaska, Festival Foods Onalaska hosts every year, free to the any vendors that apply ahead of time. But start like startup seeds. And I will say like even flowers, you have to, a lot of them, even though they’re seasonal, you have to buy brand new roots every year. And that can get costly. So even though they plan the same amount that they do every year, they’re losing in profit. Because it’s uncertain, like everything right now is up in the air just as it was last year. Everybody’s just learning as they go to adjust with the pandemic and everything that’s happening in the country right now.

Brent Hanifl 03:22
Yeah, and I think that people take it for granted. So it’s four o’clock on a Friday of the opening night of the market at Cameron Park, when we recorded this. This is something that we, my family, goes to and we’re going to go to after I’m done talking to you, I think people just don’t understand. They grab their vegetables and just kind of walk away with it. They’re super happy with it, we’re always happy with it, but they don’t understand what goes into it and how these families have been effected. So on that note, the fundraiser is gonna have a variety of different activities throughout the campaign. So it’s running through August, but it’s also going to include a series of live stream cooking shows, can you tell us about that.

Bao Xiong 04:00
I’m hoping this will be a really fun experiment. For myself. I’m not the best cook in the world. I am a good cook. And it just started because honestly I will have to credit Dylan Overhouse for this because we cook a lot together and he sometimes shows it off to his friends and all. A lot of them have been requesting, you know, recipes and asking us to cook for them. But I just thought hey, I would give away all my recipes. If we can do something good out of it. Like I would give it all for free if we could just like help fundraise for this cause. So that’s how I started. So we came up with this concept of let’s do a cooking show. And let’s have the guests host and let’s make a fun. Let’s just show people how to make these fun and delicious and healthy dishes that involved a lot of ingredients here from the local JHmong markets. And also you can find like ingredients such as asparagus or vegetables that you need from the farmers market. So we want to keep things local as well. Shopping local and just eating fresh, but these should be simple dishes. And we just want to find a way to obviously entertain people but give something back, as well as help this community of farmers.

Brent Hanifl 05:13
For people that are interested in the cooking show. What’s the menu going to look like? I know you’re going to use the local food but what can people expect? You don’t have to name all of them but is what’s a few hot dishes?

Bao Xiong 05:23
I know that people love egg rolls so for sure we are doing the Hmong eggrolls we are also doing the simple Hmong dishes such as like sticky rice, Hmong peppers and a few side dishes to go with that. We have the stir fry Udon noodle dish with like vegetables and literally any kind of meat can go on top of that. We have our fish bowls, such as the salmon bowl, the tune bowl. We also have fun. So those are some of the highlights that we’re pretty excited about.

Brent Hanifl 05:52
So if I’m just an individual, I know I can watch the shows. If people want to chip in you know, or they want to help in some way, where can they send the money?

Bao Xiong 06:00
For right now they can actually just go to the main website, which is La Crosse Local. We are going to start also a fundraising site GoFundMe as well.

Brent Hanifl 06:09
So full disclosure, so La Crosse Local, we actually talked to each other before and we’re partnering on this. And so we have Dylan Overhouse Productions. Mike Makes, La Crosse Local and yourself. We’re contributing all the money that we raised through sponsorships through individuals. 100% is going to the nonprofit. If other businesses want to get involved. We’re donating our time not taking a cent from it. How can they get involved too?

Bao Xiong 06:33
They can actually help sponsor a show. Again, they can please visit the La Crosse Local site as well. And they can like donate directly to our cause or just help sponsor shows as well.

Amy Gabay 06:48
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook @lacrosselocal. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com. And you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you’d like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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