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The Orange Street Food Farm parking lot is a lawless place. Organized chaos is mutually understood by its patrons, and those intimidated by its unwritten rules prefer to shop elsewhere.

A guaranteed sighting upon entry to the parking lot includes at least one car parked haphazardly in an aisle directly atop parallel yellow lines indicating it is, in fact, not a parking space. Yellow arrows painted in the aisles indicate the appropriate driving direction, yet they have never been taken seriously.

Through the chaos, Missoulians manage to not only survive but thrive.

Missoula’s local podunk capital transcends reality with its perfectly preserved character, unbothered by a wave of gentrification engulfing many of Missoula’s other staples (RIP Uptown Diner). The only signal of the impending hipster doom is the kombucha on tap, but its influence is overwhelmed by the neighboring section reserved for creating holiday-dependent shapes out of 12-packs of soda.

Food Farm is not the place for glamour. Newcomers may find themselves bored by its simplicity, but locals recognize O Street’s value in shaping and preserving Missoula’s identity as the liberal blue-collar haven it has always been. Let’s keep it that way.

Natasha Sullivan,


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