Market Musings Blog

An interview with Chin Thao, Mississippi Market’s summer intern

This summer, the market welcomed a intern to work on educational  initiatives. Chin Thao came to us from the Community Design Center, a St. Paul non-profit whose mission is to build vibrant and healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development. You may have seen Chin helping out in our classes, planting an herb garden, or working the Co-op Kids’ Day Camp.

Tell us a little about your background and how you happened to intern at Mississippi Market (MM).
I came to Mississippi Market from my old job at Community Design Center of Minnesota (CDC) through my Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator, Hanna Mosca. She asked me if I wanted to do an internship this summer and I was like, sure—why not? So she told me about this internship at Mississippi Market. At first, I thought, Mississippi Market, sounds familiar, but I’m not sure. I had been to the Mississippi Market on Selby once before I had this internship.

At CDC I was involved with gardening and cooking. At Mississippi Market, my jobs were to attend classes to help out the instructor, to build an herb garden, and to help with the kids’ camp.


What did you know about food co-ops before you interned at MM?
Before I interned at Mississippi Market, I didn’t know much about food co-ops. I just knew that food co-ops sold organic products.


What did you learn about food co-ops by interning at MM?
While interning here, I learned more about how you can become certified organic and how far away food could be raised to be considered local products. I never knew that to be certified organic, you need to get approved by the USDA and get inspected every year to see if you are really selling organic product and not conning anyone. I learned the difference between “organic” and “natural” labeling, about fair trade, free range, and bulk foods. As an intern here, I feel like I learned many new things.

What did you learn that will be useful to you by interning at MM?
What was really helpful and useful for me was knowing about organics.

What was your most memorable experience while interning at MM?
Everything was a great experience, from the classes I attended to the kids’ camp to the herb garden. I had fun with everything I did, including getting to know the employees. Everyone was nice. Being an intern here was one of the greatest thing I did this summer. I enjoyed all the classes I attended, especially the bat class and the mozzarella class, which I did twice! Everything at Mississippi Market this summer was FUN and AWESOME!


What are your future plans?
My plans are to finish my senior year with a happy ending to my high school years and then attend college. I’m not sure about what I want to do when I’m in college—I have so many ideas about what I want to do. But one thing I know I want to do is to help people out, whether it is helping the little ones or the elderly, I just love helping people out and making them happy. I love new experiences and excitement every day without knowing what lies ahead of me.

I want to thank you for having me as an intern this summer. It was fun! I was super-nervous about this whole internship because I was scared that I might not get everything done, especially the herb garden. But everything turned out great! I had fun attending all the classes that I signed up for, doing the kids’ camp. If I were to have this opportunity again, I would do it just to learn many different things! It was a GREAT experience this summer. Again, thank you so much for this opportunity!

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