A Messy Mission


I’m Katie, the intern at this season’s market. You’ll find me where the food is, which is part of the reason I wound up working for Libby. The Linden Hills Farmers’ Market understands food itself, but it seems that food is never just “food.” Instead, it lays at an intersection between community, culture, health, business, and environment, possessing an ability to bring all of these components together. But food often isn’t at this beautiful intersection; instead, food and everything around it can get messy.

Farmers’ markets have been widely popular in addressing this “messy” food world. In the process, these markets have become status quo, yet somehow avoid addressing the mess itself - this isn’t enough for me, or for any of us at Linden Hills. When there’s a problem or inefficiency, I want to find a solution NOW – and so does the Linden Hills Farmers Market. Through innovation, our market acts proactively to change the conventions of what a farmers’ market should be and the role they play in our communities. It’s this mindset that drives our market.

One way we do this is by challenging the current market traditions. Don’t get me wrong, hanging out at the market is my favorite way to spend a morning, but the weekend-model doesn’t always support vendors in the way we think it does; Farmers’ markets shouldn’t be confined to one day of the week, or one location in the city. Linden Hills’ new “Local Orbit” system uses technology to extend the market, providing an online interface that allows customers to purchase products throughout the week and vendors to exist virtually everywhere. I’m working on a similar project, launching a company called RED Food (Restaurants Eat Direct) that works to streamline farmer-to-buyer transactions using technology. RED Food is an online platform that aggregates local food to meet the demand of local Twin Cities restaurants. Both RED Food and the Linden Hills Farmers’ Market believe in using business solutions to allow others to do business...better.

Linden Hills isn’t a perfect farmers’ market. Frankly, (and earnestly), that doesn’t exist. But I wouldn’t want a farmers’ market to be “just a market” in the same way I wouldn’t want food to be “just food,” which is why I’m here in the first place. Each week, we learn a little more and get a little closer to a better system; join us in our messy mission.

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