Preschool and kindergarten students in Pahoua Vang’s Hmong Immersion class spent time this week in the community garden at the Three Sixty Real Estate property at 2615 East Ave., where students learn about and grow vegetables, spices and herbs in Hmong cuisine including squashes, cucumbers and peppers.
The project is a partnership between the School District of La Crosse, Three Sixty and Coulee Region Ecoscapes. Ecoscapes co-owner Judson Steinback said the project came about as a way to find a more environmentally friendly use for the more than 10,000 square feet of grass on the property, reducing the amount of water used as well as the need for mowing and applying lawn care chemicals.
Students in the immersion program learn about Hmong culture, language and history. In the garden, they learn about how these vegetables are used in Hmong cuisine and work alongside elders in the Hmong community.
“This kind of space offers so many benefits,” Steinback said. “It provides fresh and local food for people while promoting physical activity, community and cross-cultural experiences. It is a win-win.”
“This kind of space offers so many benefits. It provides fresh and local food for people while promoting physical activity, community and cross-cultural experiences. It is a win-win.” Judson Steinback, Coulee Region Ecoscapes co-owner