Morton Grove farmers market organizer honored by chamber
Kristina Otte, at her home in Morton Grove, helped start a Farmer's Market in Morton Grove in 2010. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 8:44AM
Kristina Otte grew up in Decora, Iowa, a small farming community. So in 2005 when she and her husband were looking for a new home in or near Chicago, they ended up moving to Morton Grove.
Otte said it was the best of both worlds, close to her husband’s store in Chicago, but with large natural areas in the Cook County Forest Preserve that make up 20 percent of the village.
Otte, who works part time at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago, first approached the village board about starting a farmers market in early 2009. Officials encouraged her to pursue the idea and Otte took it from there.
She thought the village should have a market like the ones she grew up with and found other volunteers in Morton Grove who felt the same way.
The market finished its third season last summer, and the Morton Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recognized Otte for her efforts. The group has named her its 2013 VIP of the Year for ”bringing together community groups, religious groups, the park district, the senior center, library, scouting groups and various village commissions that are working toward a common goal,” according to a chamber press release.
She will receive the award at the Chamber’s Awards and Installation Dinner in February.
Q: How did you end up moving to Morton Grove?
A: My husband wanted to live in the city. I wanted to live near a forest preserve. We found Morton Grove accidentally. It was just pure chance. I was eight months pregnant and driving down Beckwith Road.
Q: What do you like about Morton Grove?
A: Being from a little town in Iowa where everything’s Norwegian, my kids (here) have friends from every part of the world. I love that, the diversity.
Q: Why did you decide to start the farmers market?
A: I’d always loved farmers markets. I’m from a farming community. I always felt that I wanted to see more of a community of Morton Grove. I wanted to create something that is a binding event. I held a meeting to plan it and a large number of people showed up.
Q: Are you pleased with the way the market has grown since it was started?
A: It’s been gratifying how many people and organizations have become part of it. We’re part of the Chamber of Commerce now. We hold it on park district property. The village lets us put signs up everywhere. It’s great to see how diverse it’s become. This past year was just amazing.
Q: How did you feel about being named the chamber’s VIP of the Year?
A: It was very nice and very special. I’m gratified.