Hi I’m Julia Darnton and I nominated the Michigan Farmers Market Association for the key partner award. Farmers markets are really some of our community’s front porches, or the places where everyone is welcome and everyone can gather, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association has enhanced that capacity across the state. And they’ve been very successful and thoughtful about the way they build programs to enhance farmer success and make sure that our communities can have these points of food access. Dru:>> You know, we definitely would not be in the same place without Extension. What we’ve had with people on the ground is helping us connect to communities, understand those unique community circumstances, and really build vibrant marketplaces across the state. They’re our eyes and ears on the ground and that type of relationship has been incredible for us.
We have seen tremendous growth in the farmers market community here in Michigan. We’ve grown from 150 when we started in 2006 to more than 300 today, and a lot of that growth has happened in communities where MSU Extension educators are on the ground in supporting those markets in so many different ways. you .