A while back, while perusing the Thursday morning Farmer’s Market on the square, I stopped at a nicely presented stand of herbs, leafy greens, and vegetables, arranged and watched over by Seng Lor. The sellers I’ve encountered on the square come from many different backgrounds. Some got into growing as a hobby or took classes; other learned as children from their parents. Many of our sellers came to Northwest Arkansas from different parts of the country; Seng came from the other side of the world. She was born in Laos, where she learned how to grow from her parents.
Seng can be found on weekday mornings at the Fayetteville market and sometimes on Saturdays (She usually attends the Bentonville Farmer’s Market on weekends). At her stand, you’ll find a plethora of plants and produce including Pac Choi, collard greens, arugula, mint, dill, basil, turnips, green onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, beans, cucumbers, and squash.
Seng grew up growing. She told me that her parents grew everything in Laos. As a result, she’s always grown her own food. From Laos, she first moved to Minnesota. Then, 7 years ago, she moved to Arkansas. She began farming here simply to grow food for herself. She’s only recently begun to sell what she grows. Her farm, Sister Sprout, is located in Gentry. In addition to growing for regional farmer’s markets, she also raises chickens.
Speaking with Seng that morning, I found myself marveling at the great journeys that lead people to where they are. That a woman born and raised in Southeast Asia could find herself selling produce on Fayetteville’s town square is amazing to me. Our town is made up of people from all over the world, but for it’s size, I never cease to marvel at just how many countries are represented. Do y’all have friends who moved here from other countries? What do they think of Fayetteville?
photos by M Taylor Long