Gardening with family at the Leo Street P-Patch reminds Edenkeo Duangprasert of childhood in Laos

In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and projects connected to the history of Seattle’s AAPI community.

Edenkeo, Leo Street P-Patch

What is your ethnicity and how long have you been in the U.S.?

I come from a small land-locked country in Southeast Asia called Laos. I am first-generation and the only person in my family to reside in the United States. I left home about 10 years ago.  

How long have you/your family been gardening at your P-Patch?

I have been gardening here for about five to six years. I came to the garden in 2015. When I started gardening here, I only had two kids, now I have four.  They all come to the garden with me, and they really enjoy it. We like to stop by, water the plants, and play. It is perfect family time!  

Gourds growing at Edenkeo’s garden

How does growing food help you maintain a connection to your heritage?

My family in Laos are farmers, they plant rice, gourds, and lots of green beans. Growing food at this garden gives me a connection to my mom. It reminds me of how we used to garden together when I was back home. The types of plants I grow here are crops of the Khmu (tribal people from Laos), mostly vegetables eaten by my family that are not available in our local grocery store.

Is there a vegetable/plant you like to grow that connects you to your family heritage?

I grow cucumber, bitter eggplant, long beans, and gourds. I also grow Laotian basil and Thai hot chili peppers-I love to eat those!

What is your favorite part of gardening at your P-Patch?

The garden helps us reduce food expenses for a single-income household of six people. In addition to being a memory of home, it is also a great outdoor activity. I enjoy meeting other community garden members and talking to neighbors. We all come from different places so we talk and learn from each other. Not only do we grow and eat healthy food, but we also grow happiness here!