MAI NGUYEN

I spent most of my 20s on a circuitous path from the abstract world of the lab to the most tangible of pursuits: producing healthful and delicious food.

I studied the atmosphere and soil from Berkeley, California to Barrow, Alaska, but tired of documenting ways we’re destroying our planet. I wanted to actively help. So I decided to tackle environmental damage head on, and found myself dealing with what some might describe as the tail end of food production, waste management. I traveled to Southeast Asia, including Vietnam my family’s homeland, and worked on sewage and water sanitation projects for disaster relief and refugee camps. Some people had been there for months, some for decades.

A refugee camp should not be a permanent place or situation. I began to consider the long-term livelihoods of displaced peoples, including my own family who were refugees. And that’s when I realized I should return home to serve the diaspora community I’m from.

I joined a great team within a refugee resettlement agency located in my childhood neighborhood. We created school gardens, a farm incubator program, a food pantry, and the first permitted community garden in San Diego. While there, I coordinated one of the first farmers’ market food stamp match programs in the country. All these initiatives reduced financial barriers to fresh produce, but the lack of culturally relevant options in an ethnically diverse neighborhood acted as another limit to wellness and empowerment.

That’s why I farm: to provide delicious, nutritious, culturally-appropriate food using environmentally regenerative methods. It’s critical to ensuring food security and good health for everyone. I draw from my scientific knowledge, food distribution, marketing, and recycling experience, and cooperative community organizing background to create an equitable, ecological food system.

Thanks for visiting my website!

Farmer Mai in the News

cherrybombe

CHERRY BOMBE “FOOD FOR THOUGHT: SAN DIEGO” JAN 28, 2020

flourpower

YES! MAGAZINE “FLOUR POWER” NOV 19, 2019

nbc

NBC “Young Asian Americans turn to farming as a means of cultural reclamation” OCT 28, 2019

eater

EATER, “BOK CHOY ISN’T ‘EXOTIC,’ APRIL 8, 2019

foodchange

THE FOOD CHANGE, “PRESERVING BIODIVERSITY,” FEBRUARY 5, 2017

rootstock

ROOTSTOCK RADIO, “HOW FOOD CAN TURN A ‘PLACE’ INTO A ‘HOME’” JANUARY 28, 2019

future-of-women-1-16c3bae4

SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE, “FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM SAN DIEOG’S FUTURE OF WOMEN PANEL,” DECEMBER 12, 2018

CAL AG ROOTS “DIGGING DEEP WITH MAI NGUYEN”, JUNE 19, 2018

AmericaDreaming

VICE X PABST BLUE RIBBON, “AMERICA DREAMING” JUNE 14, 2018

BERKELEY FOOD INSTITUTE JUST FOOD PODCAST “SMALL FARMS AND LAND ACCESS: FARM DREAMS DEFERRED”, MAY 31, 2018

 

civil eats bread
Civil Eats “The Women Reviving Heirloom Grains and Flour”, April 11, 2018
Grist 50 by Samin Nosrat, March 17, 2018
Grist 50 by Samin Nosrat, March 17, 2018
National Young Farmers Coalition "Heart and Grain" Series, September 18, 2017
National Young Farmers Coalition “Heart and Grain” Series, September 18, 2017
Civil Eats, August 21, 2017
Civil Eats, August 21, 2017
California Grown
California Grown, June 23, 2017
coopmag
USDA Rural Cooperatives Magazine, May/June 2017
latimes
Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2016
Nancy Matsumoto, June 17, 2016
Nancy Matsumoto, June 17, 2016
Root Simple, December 16, 2015
Root Simple, December 16, 2015
The Mendocino Beacon, November 5, 2015
The Mendocino Beacon, November 5, 2015
Healdsburg SHED, September 2, 2015
Healdsburg SHED, September 2, 2015

 

  1. Melissa
    Jun 23, 2015

    This is so inspiring! I love your tagline 🙂 Looking forward to following your farm transition. Go Farmer Mai!