Kirsta Franke, Founder, CVO
A born and raised Edmontonian, Kirsta Franke has a decade and a half of experience in the culinary and event industry. Her previous work with the 124 Street Business Association allowed Kirsta to bridge a gap between producers, local businesses and citizens. In 2012, Kirsta spearheaded and founded Wild Heart Collective LTD. and the 124 Grand Market, an evening farmers’ market located in the heart of 124 Street. The 124 Grand Market has met resounding success and is going into it's eighth season. As former Co-chair of the Edmonton Food Council, Kirsta has become an important voice within Edmonton’s developing food scene. Kirsta has also worked with local food businesses Blue Plate Diner, Lactuca Urban Farm and The Organic Box.
Alongside her team at Wild Heart, Kirsta has produced and programmed countless events outside of the market scene, most recently, Nuit Blanche Edmonton, The Winter Shake-Up Festival with the City of Edmonton and the inaugural year for All is Bright on 124 Street in 2013.
In her spare-time, she enjoys working on her large garden plot out at her family property, playing with her fur baby Ripley the dog (as seen above), holding babies that aren’t hers at farmers markets and spending well deserved time with family and friends, eating, drinking and soaking up the finer things in life. You’ll most-likely find her about town visiting other farmers markets, events and taking in all of the culture Edmonton has to offer.
Amy Hayduk, General Manager
A product of a family owned business in a small town (her Dad put her to work since she was old enough to answer a phone) Amy Hayduk is hard-working and driven. Amy has had the privilege of being mentored by several Edmontonian entrepreneurs and small business owners. It was through this experience that she learned the value of building meaningful relationships, transparent communication, staying organized and being memorable. While she eventually graduated with a Political Science Degree, she remained working with the small business community as she felt that it was there that she could make the most impact and exercise her creativity in various projects.
She joined Wild Heart Collective in 2013 as the Assistant Market Director for the 124 Grand Market and is proud to have grown with the company to where it is today. She helped support several WHC produced events including Winter Shake-Up (2015, 2017), Petite Nuit, and Calendar of Wishes, Nuit Blanche Edmonton as well as the several in-house events that are executed by the Collective. She also helped to establish the Little Beans and Market Bucks programs at the 124 Grand Market, something she is very proud of.
Outside Wild Heart Collective, Amy works with her theatre company which she has been running with her business partner since 2012. She has also consulted on various marketing and events projects in addition to acting as the Campaign Manager for the Mayor-Elect of Vegreville in 2013. When she isn’t “working” you can most likely find her at a local karaoke haunt or music venue.
Samantha Franke, Marketing & Events Manager
Born and raised in Spruce Grove, Samantha has had a passion for animals and agriculture from a young age. At the age of 15 she had worked off paying for her first horse. Since then she has taken post secondary courses in animal agriculture, and has a strong interest in animal and human nutrition.
Along with working as a representative for a pet food company, she has worked for two local veterinary clinics, as well as an equipment dealership in advertising and administration.
You also may recognize her from the Strathcona Spirits booth, which she helps man from time to time.
Samantha’s best days off are spent with her horses, dogs and cats in the summer months. She enjoys camping, cooking, farm sitting, and spending lots of time with her family and friends.
Make sure to say hi during market, as she is so pumped to spend Thursdays and Sundays with you fine folks!
Bert Richards, Project Coordinator and 124 Grand Market Director
Some of you may remember this smiling face from last year at the market, Bert Richards came on board with the Wild Heart Collective as a S.C.I.P Intern an is now a welcomed member of the Collective fulfilling the role of Community Manager. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta he is a certified Event Manager Specializing in Operations. In his time with the Collective he assisted with the Thursday and Sunday markets, Nuit Blanche and Vignettes events.
Bert has always displayed an entrepreneurial spirit and isn’t afraid to take risk, recently selling his moving and delivery service to transition into the field of Event Management. Prior to that he founded and supported various initiatives including the Breath in Poetry Collective, a non-profit spoken word group that have made it their mission to build and develop the spoken word poetry community in Edmonton. He continues to open doors for poets, creating safe spaces for poetic expression. Most recently with “Orality” an annual event designed to kick off Edmonton’s Africanival.
Bert regularly volunteers for various community groups and non-profits. He spent three years as the Production Manager for the Cariwest Festival from 2013 to 2016 and sat as a board member with J.A.N.A, Hip Hop in the Park Foundation and currently runs a youth program every Friday for the Ghana Friend Association of Edmonton.
In his spare time Bert is very family oriented. He enjoys fitness, art, music, theater and cinema. Perhaps the most public display of his interests can be seen in his appearance with his wife on The Amazing Race Canada Season 5.
Lowell Nelson, 124 Grand Market Assistant Director and Program Coordinator
Lowell is a 22-year-old, entering his 4th year of Agriculture, majoring in Animal Science at the University of Alberta.
While balancing a busy academic schedule, Lowell is also involved in multiple student groups on campus. He was the Agriculture Club's Volunteer Coordinator for the 72nd annual Bar Nōne. Bar None is one of the largest philanthropic events, ran by a student group in western Canada. All proceeds go to support S.T.A.R.S. Air Ambulance. He is also the president of FarmHouse Fraternity.
Born and raised on a family farm outside of Morrin, Alberta, Lowell has always enjoyed the rural way of life. Riding his horse and managing his small herd of cattle are some of his favourite pass times. Appreciation of agriculture runs deep and he is proud to be part of such a vital industry.
Lowell is an active volunteer in his community and around the city, and is excited to be part of the Wild Heart Team this market season!
Paige Simpson, Communications Coordinator
We are thrilled to welcome Paige Simpson to our summer team as the face behind our socials and communications for 2019!
“Paige Simpson is a 21-year-old writer, blogger, and communications professional residing in Edmonton, Alberta. With an immense love for her city, Paige founded Be Kind YEG – a local Edmonton-based non-profit with the mission of spreading kindness in #yeg and surrounding areas. She also serves as a board member for the Global Shapers Edmonton Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. When she's not working or volunteering, Paige enjoys playing with her dog Marco, writing short stories, and eating as much poutine as she possibly can”.
If you see her at the market this summer and Wild Heart events this year, be sure to say hello! Wild Heart loves the work that Paige has done within Edmonton and we can’t wait to see what else is in store for her.
Riane Allen, 124 Grand Market Assistant Market Director-Thursdays
Riane (ry-an) is a 22-year-old recent graduate of the BBA program at NAIT.
Besides being a full-time plant mom, she found her passion supporting small businesses in the local Edmonton community. This drove her to create the first vendor market at NAIT featuring local entrepreneurs and students. You may have seen her serving shots with Strathcona Spirits at the farmers market or pouring a beer with Wild Rose Brewery at the Beer Festival! When Riane isn’t working, she is taking a road trip up to the mountains, catching up on her reading at a cafe, or planning her next adventure overseas.
Riane will be one of the faces you’ll see on Thursdays at the 124 Grand Market. She’ll be helping out with site needs, working with Vendors, as well as our Little Beans program.
We are excited to see what she’ll be bringing to our team! Welcome Riane!
Quinn Clark, Entertainment & Program Curator
Bio coming soon!
Rachel Murray, 124 Grand Market Assistant Market Director-Sundays
Bio coming soon!
Liam Pierce, 124 Grand Market Assistant Market Director
Bio coming soon!
Francy Wong, 124 Grand Market Site Assistant Coordinator
Francy Wong is a 26 year old part-time event management student at NAIT. Born and raised in Edmonton, Francy has worked in the hospitality industry for the last ten years and has recently decided to venture out of her comfort zone into the field of event planning. When she’s not working or volunteering, you can find Francy watching funny cat videos or lounging in the sun and posting about all her food adventures.