Video of 2021 Gus Schumacher Awards: https://vimeo.com/533015925
Recipient of the 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award
Minnesota, March, 2021—The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association's Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, is one of two nationwide recipients of the 2021 Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID to Minnesota farmers’ markets, their assistance to peers around the United States, and to FMC.
According to FMC Executive Director Ben Feldman, the award is named in honor of former Farmers Market Coalition board member Gus Schumacher to recognize individuals who exemplify Gus’ tireless work to bring fresh, local food to Americans of all income levels and backgrounds. “Honorees demonstrate Gus’ people-first approach to building coalitions to support farmers' market success,” stated Feldman.
According to Feldman, farmers’ markets nationwide fought to make the case for their essential nature in the early days of COVID. “Information was hard to come by, guidance from officials at the local, state, and national level was confusing and often contradictory,” stated Feldman. “But in Minnesota as soon as the reality of the situation became clear, Kathy was on the phone with the Minnesota Agricultural Commissioner and as a result, farmers’ markets in Minnesota were appropriately recognized as essential businesses from day one and were valued for their role in safely distributing food at a time when retail supply chains were struggling.” MFMA provided weekly virtual meetings to stakeholders, educated markets on best practices regarding COVID health and safety measures, and worked diligently to keep markets open.
Zeman accepted the award at the Farmers Market Pro’s InTents Virtual Conference on Thursday, March 18th. According to Zeman, this award is a true accolade for MFMA and all their partners in the Minnesota local foodshed. “Our team here in Minnesota is really deep. We have worked closely with many local food ag organizations, state agencies, and other partners over the past year to ensure our food farmers and food makers thrived so they could feed their neighbors and communities through this pandemic,” stated Zeman. So this acknowledgement by the National Farmers Market Coalition of Minnesota’s leadership in the local foodshed during COVID-19 goes to many:
“To the millions of Minnesotans who shopped at local farmers’ markets in 2020, supported local food farmers and food makers, masked up, washed hands, and supported our efforts to stay healthy and stay open—thank you!” adds Zeman.
The other Gus Schumacher recipient was Stephanie Fenty, former manager of operations and strategic engagement at the Farmers Market Coalition for her development of membership systems, toolkits, and overall contributions to FMC.