|Kristen Yartz serves as Three Rivers Market’s Cooperative Relations Administrator where she manages member-owner records, is responsible for the monthly newsletter development and design and provides administrative support to the co-op’s Board of Directors. She joined the co-op as a staff member in February 2001. During her employment at the co-op, the member-owner total has grown to 10,997 folks.
Kristen was born and raised in an Appalachian region of western Pennyslvania. Her family were members at a short-lived local food co-op in her hometown, and she grew up eating fresh produce from her Dad’s extensive garden and later from local Amish and Mennonite growers.
She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a Masters in Comparative Asian Societies. As an undergraduate, Kristen studied abroad in Australia where she met her future husband through the bushwalking club. In total she lived for 5 years in Brisbane and during that time became a dual citizen.
Throughout her career Kristen has held roles in local government, non-profits, ELICOS and retail. She and her husband moved to Knoxville in late 2000, with a visit to the old Knoxville Community Food co-op as one of their first stops in evaluating the area, followed by the local library, the campus of UT and a deep read of The Metro Pulse and the Knoxville News Sentinel. Kristen volunteered at the co-op for several months and joined the team shortly after the new (now former) General Manager was hired.
At Three Rivers Market, she developed the recycling program at the co-op where reusable packaging materials are donated to a locally owned shipping company rather than thrown away. She is also actively involved in TRM’s weekly donations of cardboard trays to Young-Williams Animal Center. Outside the co-op, Kristen established, owned and operated Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service for eight years in Knoxville’s secondhand children’s clothing market before selling the business.
Many long-term members and shoppers may remember Kristen working at the old co-op in an administrative capacity with her two daughters when they were babies in carriers. These co-op kids are now a sophomore in college (studying Environmental Science) and a junior in high school, respectively. Kristen firmly believes their overall health throughout their lives thus far is directly connected to the quality organic and local co-op sourced food that has formed the basis of their diet. Her favorite local produce items are Arugula from Hines Valley Farm and carrots from Spencer Mountain.
Kristen is a lover of trees, hikes, hummingbirds, and the natural world.