I didn’t really appreciate gardening and being immersed in nature until I was an adult. I didn’t appreciate how farming brought hope for my family. It was very healing for my parents to be connected to land. I am a generation removed from fleeing Laos and I have found that gardening allows me to connect to my parents’ story. I might not know what it’s like to be a child living in refugee camps, but it allows me to empathize. It allows me to see a little bit into their story and understand just what it means to be human. And gardening has given me hope too. What I’ve learned from my mom is you can grow just about anything. That no matter where you go, you can grow some food.
When my mom and dad moved here from a refugee camp in Thailand they couldn’t bring anything with them. A distant relative who was already living here gave my mom a Hmong cucumber seed. Every year my mom has collected the seeds of the next generation of the cucumber. A couple of years ago I asked her about this seed and why we had to plant the same thing over and over again. She said that this seed has moved through so many generations and so many different lands. There is resilience in the way this cucumber seed grows.