Michigan Humanities Council
Many of the Sustainable Farmer profiles on this site were developed with grant support from the Michigan Humanities Council (Michigan People, Michigan Places). The MHC theme is "our stories, our lives."

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A Fresh Beginning

by Alisha Green

Kaying Hang wants to share her culture with the people in her new country - and she is perfectly equipped to do that when it comes to food.

Some of the vegetables she sells at the East Lansing Farmers' Market are grown from the seeds she brought to the U.S. in the late 1970s as a refugee from Laos. Being on the run during those years was common for her in the war-torn country, so sewing seeds in her coat seemed like a natural thing to do when running to the U.S.

When she arrived in 1978, she did not know much English and was not familiar with many of the foods she encountered. She bought vegetables and other ingredients in small quantities to test them out.

Now, as the owner of Hang's Farm near Okemos, Michigan, she is the one introducing others to new flavors. With a variety of vegetables, Hang says she tries to cater to what she knows her buyers want while also providing some foods she knows they might not have tried.

Sharing an appreciation for fresh food

Kaying Hang describes coming to the U.S. from Laos and how she used seeds from her home country to start her new garden. She hopes to spread her appreciation for a variety of Asian vegetables as a vendor at the East Lansing Farmers' Market.

Alisha Green is an Honors College student at Michigan State University's School of Journalism. She has spent the past 18 months researching various national and international food cultures, with the goal of helping sustainable farmers understand these important niche markets.