Ann Vaj (she/her/hers) joined Groundswell in May 2023 as our Outreach & Technical Assistance Manager. Ann provides outreach and technical assistance to HMoob farmers to connect them to farmer programs, grants, loans, and other resources.
Ann has lived in Wisconsin for much of her life. Ann is the daughter of HMoob refugee parents who came to the United States in the early 1980s. Ann graduated from Mid State Technical College and holds a Financial Services Technical Diploma, Associates Degree in Supervisory Management, and Certified Nursing Assistance.
She is currently a board member for the HMoob American Association of Portage County, Community Action Board Member for Marshfield Hospital, and Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition. Ann became invested in agriculture, securing farmland, and food security while working at Central Rivers Farmshed where she served as the Sib Pab Program Lead. From there, she discovered the barriers and obstacles that HMoob farmers faced when securing land for yearly farming and that food pantries did not provide culturally appropriate food for those in need. She also provides connection and support for those who are interested in food businesses. One of her favorite quotes is, “Don’t yuck my yum.”