So, there’s a little opinion piece in CityPages today about Target’s “organic” line of Archer Farms foods sponsoring the Mill City Farmer’s Market (affectionately known in the House of Green as “our” farmer’s market).

Early this summer (maybe late this spring), I was accosted by a fast, fun, and friendly Targeteer who unceremoniously shoved a free full-size box of organic one-step pancake mix into my hand.


I went to the farmer’s market for organic cheese, heirloom radishes, and a yak roast. I don’t even really know what to do with box mixes.

But that’s just me. I’m not going to stop going to Mill City Farmer’s Market… I adore what they have going on there, and I know the produce, eggs, cheese and meat I buy was tenderly reared by someone who cared. I like shaking the hands of the people who grew the food I put in my mouth and on my growing daughter’s plate.

I also understand that Target’s heart is in the right place (as CP notes), and I know that Mill City Farmer’s Market gets more publicicty (read: $$) with a big corporate sponsor.

But it’s still cognitively dissonant to me. City Pages makes a good point: Target didn’t invent organic — just like Al Gore didn’t invent the internet.
56 organic booths. 65 Target bullseyes. Something just isn’t sitting right.

11 Comments so far

  1. Mykel (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 1:04 pm

    I agree. I’m also not a fan of the Archer’s farm demonstrations. I find them jarring. Maybe if they cut out the PA system it’d be alright. But having to listen to some Target dude’s amplified speaking while I’m browsing the.. well, by the time I’m down that far, it seems to be mini-donuts, and chocolates.

    The PA system makes me feel as though I’m wandering some home improvement building at the state fair.

  2. Jason (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 1:39 pm

    Without the Target money, the market might not exist. Who would be a better sponsor? Did you see that Whole Foods wanted the market in their parking lot? That’s far worse than the current situation, isn’t it?

  3. Matt9k (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

    Good for you! I am SO PROUD!!!

    Also, keep watching out for uncognitive dissonace!

  4. sarah green (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

    I’m not sure they are a bad sponsor — and I know the folks who organize the market are appreciative of the positive cash flow (and if it keeps the market alive, I am too).
    It’s a conundrum, and I’m not saying Target should pull the plug — or that I necessarily hate Target(I don’t) — just that it seems strange for me to come home with organic trout and a box of crackers pre-packaged in Mexico.

    I’m not sure there *is* a good answer… it’s tricky. and interesting. and ultimately, kindof just the way business in the US works.

  5. Erica M (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    just that it seems strange for me to come home with organic trout and a box of crackers pre-packaged in Mexico


    I suppose it would be nice if Target just wasn’t so damn obvious and in your face about it. But I suppose that’s what comes with the cash.

  6. Jason (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

    Well said, Sarah. It is super-interesting, and there probably is no good answer. Although Target’s about as good of a local citizen as you’ll find.

  7. sarah green (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    all I can say is: I may vent about our big, bullseyed neighbor just to the north of me here downtown … but for whatever faults they have, as much as it’s strange to me that a big corporation would put their pre-packaged goods in with my heirloom tomatoes: at least they aren’t walmart.

  8. Nick (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

    Before you start to bash Target how about you get the correct info.
    First off the people on the speakers is not Target. It’s Mill City doing cooking demos. Target just gave them some $$$ so they can keep the market running do some cooking demos.
    Also what’s wrong with getting a free sample of a organic product? I would rather see them there them more booths selling trinkets and jewelry. What do they have to do with organic produce???
    Also from what I have heard Target is not there every weekend. Just a few times during the season.
    If it was not for Target helping to sponsor this farmers market it might not be there at all.

  9. cody (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

    I agree!
    Target is a good thing. and Yes the PA system is not Target its Mill City doing cooking demos. Target just sponsored the cooking deomos from what i heard. So don’t blame Target for that one.
    I also agree, I would rather see Target giving out free samples of something then another booth selling non organic things. When did Jewelry become organic produce anyway?
    And if you don’t want the free sample, just say no thank you and walk away. They are not forcing you to take it are they?

  10. Erica M (unregistered) on August 29th, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

    Way to agree with yourself, Nick/Cody.

  11. Crystal (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

    Nick/Cody – Target has been there every single time I’ve visited the market.

    If it weren’t for Brenda Langton, the market may not be there at all. It wasn’t Target’s idea.

    The whole point of the market is LOCAL. Last time I checked, the jewelery displayed was made by a local artist.

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