Little markets, attics and big ideas

When you first hear about it, you’re not sure what to think. Markets do come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller neighborhood ones to big ‘it feeds the city’ markets, but organizing one in your own house’s attic seems like a crazy idea. Well, Jelena Iva Nikolic, a food stylist, blogger and restaurant consultant had that crazy idea, and as it so often turns out, it was the right one.
‘The attic was a creative hub for me and my friends, had been for some time by then, we did a lot of art and food projects. I’ve never considered doing anything like a market until an editor of a food magazine suggested that it’d be awesome if we held one up there. It was a spur of the moment idea, and it was brilliant!’- says Jelena.
Using her contacts as a food blogger she reached out to small family farms and food productions near Zagreb. The idea was to present locally grown food, get the costumers and growers in direct conversation about the food they made and ate, and give a networking platform for small family farms.

‘I had a feeling that most people just run trough markets, stopping only to buy what they need, never indulging in conversations with people who made their food, not knowing anything about it. I guess other people had the same notion because everybody was on board from the start despite the novelty of the idea’, remembers Jelena.
She got together with Jelena Mikin, who just bought land outside Zagreb to grow crops and together they started doing Little Market in the Attic once a month. Soon it grew into a weekly event, each time hosting around twenty farmers. The word spread, and so did they, being guests on different festivals and starting an after work market at Katran, a club situated in Radnicka street, center of Zagreb’s business district. During the summer, when the weather is too hot for the attic, they become a nomadic market, hosting the event each weekend at a different open venue in uptown Zagreb.

‘We’re getting together with various people who have the same creative energy as we do, trying to make the Little Market a meeting point for everyone who’s trying to make Zagreb a better place to live and hopefully bringing people back to understanding and appreciating the food they buy and eat, pulling younger generations from supermarket aisles to local quality products.’, she explains.
The event has grown past Jelena’s first intentions in two years since it started. How much more will it grow Jelena doesn’t wish to speculate, but as long as there are people willing to eat, learn and talk about food, she’s going to keep on organizing the little market with big ideas.
This is my love. I used to do corporate stuff but jumped head on into food. They tell you from childhood that the things you enjoy are supposed to be your hobbies, and work is something else. Well, I’d like to disagree, and this is proof.’, she states.

jelena i jelena
Jelena & Jelena

If you’d like to find out where the next Little Market will be during the summer months, check out their Facebook page for more information.