Anna: Today I am talking to Kat Puzey, the owner of the Downtown Farmers Market and the West Village Artisan Market, and the founder of the Modern Farm and Artisan Co-op. All of which are right here in St. George, Utah. If you are a regular at the markets, you probably know Kat. If you’re not a regular yet, this is your chance to get to know the woman who is helping transform our local community! Since Kat and I are co-hosting this podcast, we figured it would be a good idea to do some introductory episodes, so all the listeners can get to know Kat and myself. So, with that being said let’s get started! Well first off, thank you so much, Kat, for talking with me today. So, if you could, just give us some information on your background and how you got to where you are today.

Getting to Know Kat

Kat: Everybody always makes the joke that I’ve had nine lives. I have a very varied background. I come from corporate retail sales so I got into retail just like everybody else. I accelerated really fast up the corporate ladder and got promoted a couple of times, one of which brought me down here to St. George. We were here for a couple of years and then I was promoted to Denver. When I was in Denver, I started having some cognitive dissonance over, you know, we had so many packages come in, and it was so wasteful, and it was just really disconnected. 

Around that time is when I got pregnant with my son Ira, my only son, and we just had to make some decisions. My husband and I had to have some hard conversations about what we wanted with our lives and how we wanted him to be raised. Definitely, we were not a fan of the snow again, and so we decided to move back. I decided to stay home with him and take some time, and try to figure out my life. So I stayed home with him for the first year, and then I started looking for a part-time job.  My friend reached out to me and said that the local farmers market needed a manager, she said: “I think you would be perfect for it, and would you be interested?” “Ya, that sounds like it would be right up my ally.” So, I interviewed for it and got it! I just kind of fell in love with the whole scene and meeting people, becoming part of a community, knowing who is making my food and knowing who is making the products that I was buying. So I started writing articles about them, just kind of as a publicity thing, and that summer out on the farms just changed my life! It made me really look at everything completely different and I have this completely different connection with the farmers and the food.

Then at the end of the season, the old owners of the farmers market, their businesses had grown so much. The founder was Nikki Pace and she owns and runs the Painted Pony and George’s and she had two kids that are now in High School, and so you know, her plate was just growing. She said, “you know we have really held onto this because we have been waiting for the right person, would you be interested in taking it over, because we need to move on?” I said, “absolutely!” So, I bought the Farmer’s Market from her and I dove headfirst into it! 

Just with working with them, seeing their products, and trying to figure out and listen to their troubles and where they are, they needed a middle ground. Not all of them are ready for wholesale, and not all of them can go into commercial selling and restaurant supply, and then they can’t get into the grocery stores because it is just them and their kids. So, we realized that there needed to be a proving ground for them. Next step, we get them in the public, let them gain a following, let them test things and that is when I started thinking of MoFACo, the Modern Farmer Artisan Co-op.

 I found a really close knit team and we started working on this idea of basically, a way to provide a space for them, where it would be available for the community and where they would be able to hone their crafts. So that is what we are launching! We are launching MoFACo right now...it has taken a year. Then we decided to support those local growers and makers even more and open a second year around farmers market here. Our first farmers market takes place every Saturday, May through October at Ancestor Square in Historic Downtown St. George. Then we have an indoor market on the first Wednesday of every month night from 4 to 7:00 pm, year-round at the West Village Artisan Market at Affagato West. 

Anna: How long have you been the owner, a year, right?

Kat: This is actually going into my second season, I am gearing up for the second season.

Anna:  You said that when you were working retail, that was your awakening to the problems. There wasn’t anything before, that kind of sparked an interest in this?

Kat: I have always been a maker my whole life. I was very young when I started crocheting, and I love to cook, and my husband is an avid gardener... that is his thing! He’s always grown our food! When we lived in Salt Lake, we had to laugh because we were like two hippies in the basement dreaming of opening a farm to table restaurant. That was like 10 years ago, before we realized this is a thing that people could do! We thought we were unique! We weren't we just gave up! Yes, I’ve always loved cooking with fresh food. I’ve always loved slowing down. I’ve always been obsessed with chickens, I’ve wanted them my whole life! This is my first year having chickens, it’s always resonated with me. When we’ve traveled, when we would go on road trips, we would always make it a point to stop at the farmers market‘s in town and that’s where we would get our souvenirs. That’s where we would get our breakfast. That's where we would get a feel for the community. We would listen to whoever is playing. You know, it’s always been part of our lives!

 I was still very disconnected to the realization that this is how people were making their living, or you even could make a living! I don’t think that society was very accepting of that. Now you have all of these really monumental changes where people are waking up, and they’re realizing, “oh this is an issue,” like, “we are in a food crisis”! “We are in a systems crisis!” The way that we are doing things now is not sustainable and people are seeing that! I feel like this is just kind of this special circumstance right now that we're living in. Where the opportunity to do it right, and the opportunity to make a living, and the opportunity for the education piece is all there and people are ready!

Anna: Well that’s what is unique to this time we are living in, everyone has access to this information. I think about before, like how would people even learn where to get started on how to grow their own food?  They would have had to learn it from their family. Now we have unlimited access to information...it’s kind of overwhelming.  You don’t know what is going to work in your area. If you search how to garden you’re going to get results all the way across the country, that don’t pertain to your local area.

Kat: if you are listening from far away, Southern Utah is a desert. We are in Redstone, red sand. There are cactus everywhere! We have limited water supply, but there are ways to grow here and there are people that have figured it out! Those people aren’t on Facebook so people they don’t have the access to them.

Anna: So that is why we started the podcast!

Kat: We are just hoping that this podcast really just makes you believe that it’s possible! It’s so inspiring when you hear them say “oh no, I failed so many times, you just guess!” “I wasn’t born with a green thumb.” "Nobody told me how to do it" because all that information is lost.  We are so removed from our food. My grandparents, my great grandparents, all grew their own food and within a matter of two generations, we don’t have that.  It’s really inspiring and heartening  to hear these guys talk about...no it’s hard but you figure it out.

Anna: You answered it a little bit, but if you look back at your childhood, would there be any indication that you would have ended up doing what you’re doing?

Kat: You know I think there was a time when I wanted...I think every kid wanted to be a famous singer, you know, like a famous pop star or something...Britney Spears... and so there’s a time where I really wanted to be famous! I think everybody thought that I would be some kind of a designer. I sewed all of my own prom dresses. I loved sewing and I love crocheting. I love embroidering, and even though I don’t have a style, like I have taste in certain things, and so I like to create things, so, I think people thought “oh she’s going to make something,” but definitely not with the Farmer’s Market! 

My grandfather was an amazing gardener! He was so inspirational to me!  I have very vivid memories from my childhood about plants. You know, he taught me that honeysuckles were magic and that you know, hummingbirds were signs. They had this gigantic rhubarb bush. It was probably 4‘ x 4‘ and it grew on the side of their shed. I remember sometimes, I would wake up in the summer and I’d run... because my dad lived kitty-corner and their yards attached in the back...and I would run from my dad‘s house to my grandma’s house, and I would run inside, and I would grab a knife, and I would grab some salt, and I would go outside, and I would just hide in the rhubarb bush and cut it off, salt it and just eat it, just underneath the rhubarb bush. I would eat stocks and stocks of salt coated rhubarb!

Anna: That’s funny because rhubarb is not sweet at all. 

Kat: Oh no, it’s sour, but it was candy, it tasted like candy to me. I helped him with his tomatoes. He always had just rows and rows of tomatoes, and I just remember him picking them off the vine and like eating them like apples in the garden. Like warm right off the vine under his 7-foot sunflowers.

Anna: Wow, that sounds pretty magical!

Kat: I know! Looking back on it, he was a pretty cool dude! It was pretty magical. Then I moved to Montana with my mother. We didn't really have gardens there ‘cause it wasn’t what she did. She is an amazing flower gardener. She would plant like the most amazing beds and  I remember that wasn’t enjoyable for me. I remember we were like, my brother was just like, this is really fun, what do you call it, slave labor? Because we would go out there and my mom would have these plans for these beds, and we were going to put in a waterfall and I was like ya, that is really cool...I don’t have an interest in it. So, I think it became very apparent that I liked gardening if I could eat it. 

Then I met Monty, who is my husband, and he can throw seeds anywhere and it will grow.  I remember the minute I met him, I went over to his house and there were all these house plants, and I was like “whose are these?” And he was like, “their mine.” And I was like, “I love you, Marry me!”  

Anna: So, you’re saying you need to have Monty on the podcast and he can teach us about gardening? 

Kat: He is really shy, maybe we can talk…

Anna: Maybe he can do an online course.

Kat: Ya, or something...a little answer question thing.

Anna: That’s a good resource to have. Well, I think that’s funny because I listen to a lot of podcasts that are about gardening and all that stuff, and when they interview, they all have some magical childhood experience with nature, being outside. Maybe life takes them in all different directions, and when they look back at their childhood at a young age, there is something in there that is so impressionable, and I know that for me too...but we will talk about that in my episode. 

Kat: The other thing is that my grandpa never let me plant anything, I wasn’t like a planter, I never had any experience gardening, I would just trail behind him and he would be like, you again? He was always sweet about it, but I could always tell that he would sometimes just awwww, these kids!

Anna: I bet he would be pretty impressed with all you are doing. 

Kat: I like to think so. I think about him a lot and he died, I think it was 7 years ago. I remember when I went out and was doing the farmers interviews, there were times that I just could feel my grandpa, and I was like, uh, you would love this! I could talk to him out there, and I just felt so connected to him doing these interviews. I was like I just really wish that you would’ve made it to now, because he would’ve loved it, you know. He would have thought it was so great. 

Creating the Co-Op

Anna: That’s really sweet. I am getting all emotional! You kind of told us about MoFACo and how that all got started. Do you want to add anything else about going the co-op route?

Kat:  It just seems like the cheapest option for everyone involved. And it just seems so in line with the spirit of the market, like we’re all in this together. And it was the only way that I could do everything! My problem my whole life is that I want to do everything. 

Anna:  I can totally relate to that.

Kat:  I want to cook. I want to sew. I want to weave. These are all my interests and all the things that I want access to.  So for me, I am a Jack of all trades and master of none! I just want access to them, and I think everybody feels that way.  So, we can support the masters. We can support the community. And more importantly, I get to do what I want to do. I don’t have to pick! We can just do everything, and learn everything, and so that is kind of why we went the co-op route. It’s because when we were sitting down trying to figure it out, we really didn’t want to limit ourselves to one thing.  We just didn’t want to be limited to only doing this, and writing grants for this, or being pigeon-holed. We wanted to keep it fresh. We wanted to keep it seasonal. We wanted to be able to evolve with tastes and what the community needed, and it just seemed like that was the most viable structure.

Anna: Well, it feels pretty unique! I’m thinking back like, I don’t really know of anyone else that is doing something like that.

Kat:  Definitely, not here in Southern Utah! I love St. George to death, and one of the reasons why I love it to death, is it’s ten years behind everything. You know, it’s still a small town. There's definitely some big Artisan Co-op’s and some food co-op’s.

Anna: But merging them together seems kind of unique.

Kat: I think it might be! I’m sure there’s, I don’t want to be like yes, I’m the only one 

Anna: At least that we know of.

Kat:  And I think it’s fun! Like, with all of the pieces moving, it’s just incredible! 

Anna: I am so excited about it! Like when we first got talking about the podcast, I was telling you about how I had all of these ideas and I feel like the stars aligned. Cause everything I want to do, you want to do, and I am like ya, now I don’t have to do all of that. I can just enjoy it and help. 

Kat:  And now you have the place to do it. We are hoping to pull that in with this, and it gets really hard to explain it to people because their brain stops at food, and they don’t hear the Artisan part. Or they stop at Artisan, and it takes like 3 or 4 meetings and then people are like,  “oh wait, this is like a whole thing, you are doing all of it!”

Anna: I like that it is all about bringing the community together. Like you, I have so many interests. I have so many things I want to do, but I  get stuck when It’s just me. I would love to go to a class and learn, instead of you know, Youtube  and Google, and try to learn it myself. I would so much more enjoy being with other people and doing it together, because that is how we are meant to function. We are not meant to do everything solitary, closed off, in our own little house. So I am so excited!

Kat:  For me, when I moved back here with my little boy, I had no community. I had no one. I didn’t have anybody that I could talk to or hang out with. I think I had 1 or 2 friends from the first time I moved here, but I was so focused on my career that I didn’t put down roots. And so then, you just kind of like stand there and you're like, well, how do I plug into a community? The Farmers Market really got me through my postpartum. It got me through this. In just being there, meeting locals, and talking to people, and connecting with makers and artisans and farmers.  It was just like, oh my gosh! And then season after season, bringing the kids program in too. Meeting all these young families and becoming part of their traditions, and to see this go into the co-op, this is a community! And we are here for you...to meet the person making your food. We are here for you, to ask questions. We are here for you to go on the tours. We are here for you, to take lessons. It brings us back to that pre-war era. 

Anna: Ya, pre World War II…

Kat:   It was like this community working together. And it wasn’t so isolated and you didn’t have Google, you learned it from the lady down the street. Thats is what I think we need to get back to. 

How Much Work Goes into Running the Markets

Anna: I agree! How much work goes into running the markets and getting the co-op up and running?  What does your average day look like with all the numerous things you have to do? 

Kat: It’s a lot! I am terrible at tracking my hours because I think if I tracked my hours, I would feel very discouraged. It is so much work! When I took over the Farmers Market, the Ancestor Square, the Downtown Farmer’s Market, if I had not established that relationship with the farmers through the interview, the paperwork alone, I would have given up! I would not have opened a Farmer’s Market. It was so hard.  The city was great! They tried to help me as much as they could, but it was also...I am ADD. I have problems with paperwork. It had to be meticulous. You had to get this license. You had to check in with this person. You have to do this. You have to go over here. You have to be a part of this. You have to turn this in.  You have to have your marketing. You have to have this. There was so much paperwork. Then trying to get approved to have SNAP. To serve our veterans, our disabled and our young families at the markets. That was a whole nightmare, and it took almost 4 months for us to get approved to have SNAP, at a market that already had SNAP before! You have to re- apply with a new owner, so, if I would not have had that relationship, and knew how great it was, and how worthwhile it was!

So I wake up. I do my morning routine. I try to meditate. I try to  get to my priorities before I open my email box, and then I try to get my son squared away. I try to get him to school, and then after that,  I try to answer as many emails and phone calls from vendors and public questions that I have. Then, on certain days of the week, I schedule our social media for all four channels. I’m hopping on the Utah Farmers Market leaders coalition...they are trying to start a network for us. Luckily, with MoFACo, I have found a really great board and so I am starting to delegate some of the development to them, which is great! So, we have Jane Muller as our President, she is very meticulous. She’s been  getting things in order for us on that end. Then we’ve been really lucky with our collaboration with Six Bit Creative, and Alesha Lockwood and Bryan over there. They have just been amazing! So, they have really been helping us with our marketing and trying to get us into more sustainable patterns. It’s a long day and it never stops! 

It’s kind of a curse and a blessing. It’s only me behind it right now, and so I know the routine. I know the consistency. I know what the message is but then the curse is, it’s only me. So, people know that too!  They’re like, “I emailed you and you never got back to me!” “Well, it wasn’t a specific email that you sent, you got back burnered, I’m sorry.” Right now, the biggest problem for me is that we are trying to put in new systems for everything to eliminate the paperwork.  It is incredible the amount of paperwork the Farmer’s Market’s have to have on hand in case they ever get audited! Like what I carry around, is just like buckets! I have to have proof that they have acknowledged this. I have to have copies of their license. I have to have this. I have to have my things and so I found some really great software on the back end. So, that update should be coming soon for all of the people that are applying, they can keep it in one place. They have to turn it in. It's a completely separate program that should run with our website. We’re getting our website re-done. We’re getting the podcast squared away. So right now, it’s trying to automate everything, So we are hoping that it condenses and gets easier. 

Surprises About the Market

Anna: So what is something that has been a surprise for you since getting to know all these farmers and makers?  Was there something that just kind of came out of nowhere that you weren’t expecting?

Kat: I mean this in the nicest way possible, so if anyone gets mad, I’m sorry! I am surprised at how similar our artists and farmers are with their eccentricities. It really is just a different art form. And it’s so interesting because they’re so...some of them are so seasoned.  Like, you go to these art shows, and you meet the artists, and they have got this very professional veneer. They’re thick skinned and can take criticism! Farmer's have that too! Yeah, and it’s so funny that both of them, interviewing them, and getting to know them, to see that public persona come off. See just their personalities! It’s also funny to see them interact, ‘cause it’s really hard. It’s like working with 60 artists! Artist's are usually very isolated people.  They’re in their own zone. They are by themselves, because they like it a particular way. Well, farmers are like that too! And so this person‘s eccentricities do not mesh well with this person. So we have to move them and find personalities that work together, and products that work together. It’s so interesting, like yeah, but it’s just so funny to see that they’re all just artists! There is some crazy artisans and farmers here that are doing incredible things! That are winning all these awards, and their making new ways to do things and it’s mind blowing!

What Motivates and Inpsires Kat

Anna: If you could start all over, what is one thing you wish you would have known? 

Kat: I don’t wish I would’ve known anything. I wouldn’t have done it!  I still sometimes, don’t wanna know anything, because I’ll stop! Like, don’t tell me till I need to know that, because, I, it’s hard, so hard, like, it’s just, its paperwork. Maybe that’s what I wish I would’ve known. It’s work, but it’s fun, and just do it!  That the farmers market above all, has just taught me to just dive in! Like, you don’t know what you’re doing. No one knows what they’re doing! You’ll figure it out as you go. It will all work out! Just go! Because if you start researching it, if you're thinking about it, researching it, and you're looking, you’re just going to start finding all this stuff. You’re like, oh, I can’t start a 501C3! And oh, I need to start a 501C3.  I have no other option, so let’s dive into this non-profit nonsense! Or it’s like oh, I don’t want to do this now. Well you have to, so now let’s go! If I had sat down, got the idea, mapped it all out, started looking into it, I would’ve stopped!

Anna:  I guess it’s a good time to ask you what motivates you to keep going?

Kat: What motivates me to keep going is my artists and my farmers. And if you don’t do it, who will?  Our farmers market has been around for 12 years. These farmers have been here for 12 years. So, in 12 years, Nikki and those guys were amazing and did what they could, and really were trailblazers for us with the city! Nikki and Jill, and that whole group, really got the city to open their eyes that this was needed!  It really took them 12 years to get the city to get on board, and to get the community on board. So, if it took all those years for these really amazing, smart business women to do this, if I step out now, how long is it going to take for somebody else to step up and do it? So, that’s what keeps me going. I see that it's a family business. I see that it is young mothers making these things. That this is a family thing that has been going on forever, and the kids are leaving because they have jobs. So, this is like the mother and dad are just holding on and selling what they can. This is a life, you know. My butts not on the line, but I am responsible for their businesses! I am responsible to do as much as I can to benefit my community! That is my responsibility. That’s all of our responsibilities! So, I just think that if I  walked away right now, I don’t think I would ever forgive myself for not trying as hard as I could!

Anna: Well, hopefully, the community appreciates everything that you are doing. 

Kat: They’re sweet, they can be cheeky but I know they love me. No, they're great, they are sweet to me.

Anna: Even as the whole community of Southern Utah, I think it is so important to have a farmers market where they can connect to these people. It's so hard, if you look stuff up online and you don’t get to meet the people. You don’t get to see what they have, what they're doing, to know who they are. It puts in a  complete distance. I wish I could buy everything locally. Like, furniture, clothes, food, everything here. Sometimes, I think I should have been born, you know, like 80 years ago, when that was all a thing! Maybe even before then! 

Kat: But then we wouldn’t have a podcast. 

Anna: We wouldn’t have a podcast, but I totally long for that, so I ‘m really excited! I think that is the future though. I think we kind of stepped back. We went all consumer and now we are kind of realizing that we can't go forward that way. I think this is going to be the future. I think everyone's  going to kind of have to switch back.

Kat: Ya, especially with just the cost of petroleum. The cost of shipping, tarrifs, everything that we’re going through!  This global discussion of import and export. Like, if you are not worried about all of the things you’re bringing in, that could be gone tomorrow, what are you doing? We don’t realize that half the food in our grocery store could be gone in one decision.

Anna: Ya, well we only have like 3 days worth of food in grocery stores. So, if there is a natural disaster or something happens, we are kind of in trouble!

Kat: Ya, not to be too bleak everyone, but this is what is scaring me! This is what I am worried about, now too! Last October, our waterline broke on Halloween and within 24 hours it was terrifying! It was like, “oh my gosh!” “We have no water!”  “Like, what are we going to do?!”

Anna:  Go down the river and get some buckets!

Kat: We are seriously like sitting ducks here! That is what has been in the forefront of all of our minds, as we have been going throughout this year. We are like how can we get things here? How can we eliminate our dependency on the outside, so that if something happens we are not screwed? I think people are realizing the importance of it and that there is a movement for it. 

Failures and Success

Anna: What is something that you failed at and what did you learn from it?

Kat: I failed at so many things that I can’t even think of one.

Anna: But that means that you are moving forward, you are learning!

Kat: Ya, that’s what I learned, is that you are going to fail all the time! When I was younger I would let it stop me, I was like, “oh, I have had a major failure, we are not doing this anymore!” I would immediately change course and abandon whatever it was I was doing. But now I run into so many closed doors, or I drop the ball, or things just didn’t jive. As hard as I am trying to work this one thing, it doesn’t work, and so I have to leave it right now!  We are just in such a season of growth that I can not afford to care about failing! If I start thinking about it, I will never leave my house. It's just everyday, “okay we failed at that, let’s move on!” I guess that’s what I’ve learned, is that I just have to keep moving on. You have to know that you’re going to fail, and that your biggest fail hasn’t even happened yet, so just keep going!

Anna: What has been your biggest success? 

Kat: The Farmer’s Market, definitely! Last season was very scary for me! You step into this career where you are not just managing people, you are not just managing retail, you’re managing a live event for 26 weeks, and this is people’s livelihood!  To have the kind of season that we had, was amazing! I have so much love for this community, so much love for the young families, and so much love for the programs, like Champion Your Well Being did the wellness program; the cooking program every Saturday. So, we had a free cooking class every Saturday that focused on making your kitchen more self sustainable! Then, we had DiversiTEACH, which was a free youth drop in activity, and they taught sustainability, upcycling and recycling with cultural diversity. She actually partnered with people in the community and found just these beautiful lessons. Then we also had The Little Homestead Society, and they were more of an elevated art, but again it was a free program for kids. They would do these really amazing art and nature activities. To see the community come out week after week and support these small businesses, support the artisans, and support these programs, I just had this glowing feeling of success! I was like, this is what it’s all about!  This is as good as it gets! If this is the one summer I get where everybody bears the heat, and comes out, that will be enough. It was just so phenomenal to see the community rally behind these guys! I think that was my greatest success!

Anna:  Well, awesome! It’s a good one.

Kat: Ya, I like it.

Final Questions

- What makes Utah special in your opinion?

I think what makes Utah special, oh gosh! There are so many things!  I really am not stalling. There are so many things! I love the geography of Utah. I think within an hour you can be in pine mountains. You can be in the desert. We have so many national parks. I actually took a natural geography class  when I stayed home with Ira. Everything that we studied, she would pull out the textbook and say, “this is an example in Utah.” The textbook was all full of examples from Utah. So, for me, I feel like Utah is this super special unique topography, and we get to take care of that!  We get to live here! It’s a privilege! We get to put our souls into this land. We get to be the stewards. I think that is what makes Utah special. I think everyone here, on some level, will tell you that’s why they love Utah!  I don’t know if it’s a pioneering vibe, I don’t know if that’s marked the land. I don't know if it’s all of the Native American cultures that were here that have put so much love into the land, before we got here, but this land is so special! It calls to many people, and I think that’s what makes this place impossible to leave.

- What’s been your favorite part about the Farmer’s Market community? 

Building a community! Just being a part of a community has been the best part to me!  There are people that come to the market, that there is no way I would have ever met them!  I would have never met them. I couldn’t have even run into them on the street wven if I wanted to. I see them every week. We catch up. I know what they like to eat. I know their kids, and I know their family. You know, just developing this relationship with the farmers too, and the makers, it really has just restored my faith in humanity!  You know we are all hard on the outside. When you start meeting these people, and just learning about what they’ve gone through, and all the love that goes into these products, it’s just like, “oh I am so lucky to be here!” “I am so lucky that this is it!”

- Do you have a favorite book publication, or social media account that you find inspirational?

Yes, my favorite book, I am going to say of all time, right now, is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara King Solver. When listened to it...cause I listen while I work, that is the only way I get through everything...I think it is like a 15 or 16 hour book. I think I listened to it 6 times...I just started it back over, and it’s just her goal to live locally off the land, and doing it with her two kids and her husband. It’s just amazing...I love it...and it’s so inspirational, and if there is ever a time I feel I’m not inspired  by what I do, I just listen to that book and I am like “yep, this matters.” When you read it, you will just sit there and go yes. Yes! YES! Whoa, I’m going  to rewind that, and yes, it really is...just like, it makes my heart happy thinking about it! I just love it! I have never had that kind of connection with a book. And I think the second one would be Braiding Sweetgrass by Robyn Kimmerer. That’s an amazing book too! Yes, Animal, Vegetable Miracle if you are looking for farming or inspiration for living off the land and Braiding Sweetgrass, just the way she makes you evaluate your relationship with the land, those two books together, you just can’t go back. “Okay, I get it, what do I need to do?” How do I take care of this place? Okay, I am going to the Farmer’s Market! 

- Why should people buy local food and support local farmers and makers?

It is so much healthier for you guys! Every time I log onto Facebook,  or every time I get an email with a newsletter it is about them finding something in food.  All of the synthetic crap we’ve been putting on our bodies is all of a sudden causing this, or we didn’t realize we were putting microplastics into the water and now the fish are 90 % plastic because they are taking in the water. It’s just, it is so much healthier for you. Trust me!  Just trust me! Especially if you are here in St. George. We’ve been to the farms. I’ve looked at what they are doing. Nobody is lying to you here. We have visited our farmers. If they say it’s not in there, it is not in there! We only have 1 farmer that is certified organic because the process is so crazy and it’s expensive! It’s crazy, but for animals too! You can’t be certified organic if you have a nail sticking out of their house. They could poke that, and it’s rusty, so they are not organic!  It helps to know who's making it. You’re removing all of this weird stuff that’s in the product. I remember when I switched lotions, I started using this locally made lotion and I remember my skin got super dry, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t dry anymore.I was like “oh!” It was purging. Like, I was going through this purging process, but it’s just so much better for you. The food tastes better. You feel better!  You don’t run the risk of getting all this crazy stuff that they’re putting in your food. I just think that there is going to be a time, well it’s here, that you can not trust what you are buying in the grocery store. You just can’t! I just wish that people would understand that! The reason this guy is charging more for the chickens is not because he is trying to screw you over, and it’s local, he’s out there 8 hours a day making sure they are not getting into anything! Making sure they’re eating right!  He goes out there and moves those chicken tractors every half a day. I just wish that people understood how much better it is for you, and your family, and your home, and the earth! But once you have this knowledge, now you’re empowered! You’re making better decisions. You are going to take your health, and your family, and what you can control into your control! I just wish people understood that, and I hope that they do! Like I said, I hope that this is a time where people are like “okay, what are our other options”?  So, I believe, as a collected whole, I have faith in people that we are getting there. That people want answers, and that people are not going to be complacent with this! 

 - If listeners want to learn more about all your doing how can they find you? 

 If you want to keep up with my personal projects, I am DowntownFarmerKat on Instagram, or I have a public profile on Facebook. That is where I post all of my parenting shenanigans and all the stuff that I am working on behind scenes. But, really, if you follow either the Downtown Farmers Market, or the West Village Artisans Market, or MoFACo Utah,  right now those are all me! So, I will keep you apprised on all those. So, even all of our channels, our markets, they are available on both Instagram and Facebook. If you have platforms that you prefer, you can do that. You can subscribe to our newsletter through Mailchimp and just tune into MoFACoUtah.com. now that it’s live. That’s where we'll be putting the blog. Hopefully, the podcast will be in there. You  can register to be a vendor on there and you can always email me.