Meet Our Board Members
Bill Boutang, President
Bill and his wife Sandi grow vegetables and until recently, raised broilers and laying hens in Balsam Township, Aitkin County. He serves as the manager of the Grand Rapids Farmers Market, where he has been a vendor and board VP for several years.
Bill has a varied work background that includes military service, sales, construction, residential design and sled dog training. He was a marathoner and ultra-marathoner. He served on the founding board of the Twin Cities Marathon and acted as VP of the Minnesota Distance Running Association.
Bill has served on the board of the MFMA since 2012. He was deeply involved in bringing SNAP to the Grand Rapids Farmers Market and began to participate in MFMA conferences and activities to learn more about the resources and dynamics related to food access at markets.
Bill’s favorite vegetables are sweet potatoes, onions and garlic.
Sara George - Vice President
Sara George is the manager and a faithful vendor at the Wabasha Farmers Market. She is a fruit and vegetable grower and active community volunteer who has created farm-to-school, farm-to-hospital, and farm-to-restaurant programs in the Wabasha area. Sara volunteers in schools, her congregation, and area non-profit organizations. She also works at the Harbor View Café and has been active in selling locally grown items on their menu.
Sara was elected to the MFMA board in March of 2015. Her interest grew from her work bringing markets in SE Minnesota together. She sees service on the board as an extension of that work and an opportunity to share information and resources with area market managers. She would like to see markets standardize and support each other rather than reinventing the wheel.
Sara’s favorite vegetable is kale.
Alex Cortes, Secretary
Alex is the Executive Director of Neighborhood Roots—a nonprofit organization hosting the Fulton, Kingfield and Nokomis Farmers Markets in South Minneapolis. Alex joined the MFMA Board as the Board Secretary in 2014. Alex became involved in the MFMA because she saw a need for Minneapolis markets to be represented in the organization’s work.
Alex appreciates the opportunity to learn about the different structures, challenges and successes of Minnesota’s Farmers Markets as part of her service on the board. She is pleased with the MFMA’s increasing performance.
Alex’s favorite vegetable is zucchini.
Ron Branch, Treasurer
Ron is a fruit, vegetable, and cut-flower grower who also serves as the manager of the Alexandria, MN Farmers Market. He has been involved with his market since the late ‘80’s and has also played a role in the creation of the new local foods online marketplace, LocalHarvestMarket.co
Ron has been involved with the MFMA since its “concept stage” in the late ‘90s and has served in many capacities as a board member and officer. He has first-hand knowledge of the organization’s development and relationships with peers, funders, and members.
Ron finds satisfaction in providing services to Famers Markets, communities and promoting local foods. The community connections and personal/ physical sustenance that people receive from markets are part of a centuries-old tradition. Ron enjoys participating in this lively interconnection within his own market.
Ron’s favorite vegetable is the vegetable that is in season.
Terry is a University of Minnesota Extension Service Professor in fruit and vegetable production, serving the whole state of Minnesota. As of May first, his title will be “Professor Emeritus.” With his wife Loralee, Terry owns and operates Ter-Lee Gardens, a U-pick strawberry and vegetable farm. During the summer of 2015, they participated in Bemidji, Sanford Medical Center, and Bagley Area Farmers Markets each week.
Terry has been involved in the MFMA since the very beginning. He has served as a board member and advisor to the board ever since. He is motivated by the value of local foods and the potential to impact the health of communities. He values Farmers Markets as a profitable venue for farmers and food businesses of many different scales. He enjoys the ever-changing nature of his markets.
Terry’s favorite vegetable is asparagus.
David is entering his 6th summer as the Market Manager at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market. In addition to his role with the RDFM, he is the Food Hub Manager for Richfield Organics/MN Sustainable Development Group. Prior to his work with the Market in Rochester, David had a varied employment history from working as a School Garden Program Manager to a touring musician. He owned an independent record store, and has held a mix of positions in retail management, and events marketing.
New to the MFMA board in 2016, David looks forward to learning about the other directors and helping with current MFMA projects. He is passionate about small, independent farmers and helping them reach their goals. He believes that Farmers Markets across the state represent a town’s gather point, the center of the local community, and can be supported and strengthened through referencing the MFMA and board’s works done on the Markets’ behalf.
David’s favorite vegetable is a carrot.
Martha is the Executive Director of the Mill City Farmers' Market and has held that position for four years. Prior to her work with Mill City, Martha worked for 16 years in retail buying and management, with Dayton Hudson/Marshall Fields, including a stint as a divisional manager. Martha also has experience with event planning and consulting.
Martha was elected to the MFMA board in 2015. She agreed to serve on the board because she is passionate about promoting farmers' markets across Minnesota and creating opportunities for markets to share ideas and expertise. Her service is also central to Mill City Farmers' Market’s mission and vision "to connect, educate and empower a community to support a healthy, local, sustainable food system to contribute to the success of local food growers and producers".
Martha’s favorite vegetable is beets.
Karen has been the director of the Elk River Farmers' Market for the past 3 years and has enjoyed every part of it. She really enjoys the relationships that are made and the connections with the community.
Karen joined the MFMA board of directors to give back to the organization that provided her with help when she was starting out. She would like to see the MFMA be a “go to” for all markets in the state and be able to provide the information that markets and vendors need to make each market successful. She has served on many other community boards and will use the skills she developed within the other organizations to help the MFMA grow. She wants to help the MFMA to retain and grow in the knowledge they are able to offer to markets and vendors.
Karen’s favorite vegetable would of course be potatoes :)
John comes to us from Red Wing in the SE MN. He has been two time past president of the Red Wing Farmers' Market and on the board for more than 8 years. During his tenure at the Red Wing Market they moved their market down by the Mississippi next to the train depot, successfully were rewarded 501 (c) 3 status, became involved with 4H, spearheaded getting vendors connected to Meals on Wheels, retirement homes and restaurants.
John is very excited to be on the board and to help bring MFMA members more opportunities and information going forward!
John's favorite vegetable is young corn.
Ruth White, Advisor
Ruth became an adviser to the MFMA board in 2000, when she began working in the Agriculture Marketing section of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Ruth has observed tremendous growth and development in the MFMA’s ability to serve Minnesota’s farmers' markets over the years.
Ruth currently serves as Secretary for the Farmers' Market Coalition and hopes to bring more information about FMC’s work to MFMA and vice versa, so that both organizations can be strengthened.
Ruth’s favorite vegetable is sweet corn….with butter.