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Asian American Farmers Look Back to Go Forward

Part of CULINASIA: The Future of Asian Food in America

Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0409
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
Select your Tickets
Gen. Admission
Gen. Admission+Tasting Kit
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Clockwise: Mai Nguyen, Ariana de Leña, Kristyn Leach and Kenny Likitprakong

(Photo: Sana Javeri Kadri, Audra Mulkem, NA, NA)

NOTE: Free program, registration required.

In both film and popular media as well as farming and land ownership, Asian Americans have been historically underrepresented and repeatedly denied opportunities for advancement. In 2017, Asian Americans comprised less than one percent of U.S. farm owners, in comparison to the approximately 95 percent of full-time operators who were white.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the California Alien Land Law of 1913, and  Japanese internment during World War II are among the factors that contributed to sharp declines in previously "ubiquitous" Asian American land ownership. Whether as a means of "cultural reclamation" or with the intention of building lasting foundations for future generations, both the fictional and real-life drama of being Asian in America is further complicated by the model minority myth and the “perpetual foreigner” burden carried by diverse communities.

The Oscar-nominated film Minari offers a unique opportunity to explore these themes.

Join Asian American farmers and vintners for a discussion inspired by the semi-autobiographical story of a Korean American family that embarks on a new kind of American dream, traveling from their California home to a rural Arkansas farm where they nurture the father’s hopes of growing Korean produce to sell to vendors in Dallas. Presenters include Mai Nguyen, owner/operator at Farmer Mai and founder of the Asian American Farmers Alliance; Kamayan Farm co-founder Ariana de Leña; and Thai American winemaker Kenny Likitprakong of the family-owned, California-based Hobo Wine Company; and Kristyn Leach, whose project, Second Generation, supports communities of the Asian diaspora in tending to their respective food traditions and wisdom.

Just announced! Following the conversation, join Kenny Likitprakong for a guided wine tasting featuring three selections from the Asian American-owned Hobo Wine Company. An optional wine tasting kit is available for purchase, and can be picked up from the Eastern Wine Bar in Washington, DC. Additional wine tasting kit information:

  • The cost for the wine tasting kit includes a curated personal tasting kit with enough wine for one person to sample three wines.
  • Participants must register in advance to reserve a wine tasting kit. Registration for wine tasting kits closes at 9 am on Monday, June 21.
  • Kits are available during two scheduled pick-up times on Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23 from 12–4 p.m. at The Eastern wine bar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood (360 7th Street SE; Metro: Eastern Market, Orange, Silver and Blue Lines).
  • Pick-ups are contactless, with all appropriate health, safety, and social distancing precautions. Due to state and federal laws, wine kits may not be shipped.
  • Patrons will receive additional wine tasting kit pick-up information by email prior to the program.

Please Note: A film screening is not part of this program. However, you can view Minari on Friday, June 18, at 7 p.m. as part of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s film program. Find more information here.


Asian foods and cooking have long been an indelible part of America’s food culture, and yet we also harbor complicated relationships with the people who prepare our meals. Earlier this year, Asian American activists carried signs reading “Love Us Like You Love Our Food” as they denounced a surge of anti-Asian racism in communities across the United States during the global pandemic.

CULINASIA is a dynamic, free series of virtual conversations that explore food legacies and the ways in which Asian Diaspora cuisine continues to change and enrich our lives. Join chefs, food writers, food entrepreneurs, home cooks, cookbook authors, and other participants whose heritage and experiences span the complex spectrum of Asian Diaspora identities in the United States as they discuss the successes, challenges, and future of Asian food in America.

CULINASIA is curated by Burmese American restaurateur and cultural connector Simone Jacobson.

The series received federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Recordings of these programs will be posted on the Freer and Sackler Gallery's YouTube channel within the next few weeks:

Additional CULINASIA programs

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.