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With floral candles, Hmong sisters honor parents’ farming legacy

With floral candles, Hmong sisters honor parents’ farming legacy

Artist sisters Xee (left) and Pachia Vang (right) created homemade candles using flowers from their family’s farm to accompany this year’s Hmong American Farmers Association Thanksgiving share. This story comes to you from Sahan Journal , a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing authentic news reporting about Minnesota’s new immigrants and refugees. MPR News is a partner with Sahan Journal and will be sharing stories between SahanJournal.com and MPRNews.org . By Becky Z. Dernbach Sisters Xee and Pachia Vang didn’t want the unsold flower bouquets at their family’s farm stand to go to waste. When the sisters were invited to create a piece of art to accompany the Hmong American Farmers Association’s Thanksgiving farm share, they decided to preserve their family’s flowers in candles. “Growing flowers, we don’t want any of our flowers to go to waste,” Pachia said. “For us, it’s a way of preserving flowers in a different, more creative way that people can enjoy.” “Even when it’s not summer,” Xee added. “People can enjoy flowers in a different way.” The art share that accompanies HAFA’s Thanksgiving produce box is now in its third year. Each year, a Hmong artistic work is available to purchase alongside produce grown by Hmong farmers. This year for the first time, the art comes directly from a HAFA farm. Oskar Ly, one of the founders of the ArtCrop program , said the Vang sisters’ floral candles have brought the project “full circle.” They’re an example of the innovation second-generation Hmong Americans can bring to farming, she said. Xee and Pachia grew up helping out “here and there” on their parents’ farm, though they were always more drawn to art. Xee, 30, went to school for fashion design. Pachia, 25, said she has “always been her [sister’s] assistant in a lot of things.” […]

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