Meet Our Board Members
David Kotsonas, President
David is the new Market Manager of the St. Paul Farmers Market. Before joining the St. Paul Market, he had been the Market Manager at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market for 6 years. 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.
Sandy Dietz - Vice President
Sandy, along with her husband Lonny and family, run Whitewater Gardens Farm in SE MN. The Dietzs' raise a variety of certified organic produce, specializing in sweet potatoes, carrots, and greenhouse tomatoes all year round. With 22 years’ experience raising produce, the farm sells at the Winona Farmers’ Market and the Rochester Downtown Farmers’ Market, local restaurants in Winona, Rochester, LaCrosse, and the Twin Cities, as well as local co-ops and schools.
Sandy has also served on the board of the Winona Farmers’ Market Association, Winona County EDA Local Foods Subcommittee, LSP steering committee, and the FSA County committee. She sees opportunities for farmers’ markets in the current food trends, along with the younger generation finding value in sustainable farming.
Ruth White, Secretary (2023)
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 completed her term in 2018 as Secretary for the Farmers' Market Coalition.
Ruth’s favorite vegetable is sweet corn….with butter.
Ron Branch, Treasurer (2023)
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 any vegetable that is in season!
John Anderes (2022)
Emily Lund (2021)
Emily is the relatively new Executive Director of the Neighborhood Roots organization that runs three farmers’ markets: Kingfield, Fulton, and Nokomis in Minneapolis. A former manager at the Whittier Farmers’ Market, she also now serves on the Farmers’ Markets of Minneapolis Leadership Team. She has a decade of experience in local food service and production, retail, and nonprofits.
Emily thinks there is great potential for farmers’ markets to share knowledge and resources – and likes the increased public interest in food justice - and how that can play out at farmers’ markets.
Karen Wingard (2022)
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 in 2016 and was elected Secretary in 2017. 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 :)
Susan Draves, Adviser
Susan, a resident of Lake City, Minnesota, is currently employed by the University of MN Extension as the South East Regional Coordinator of the SNAP-Education program. She has over 30 years of experience in local foods and agriculture. She has worked as a food co-op produce coordinator, and farmer. In addition to vending at farmers’ markets, she has also managed them, implemented SNAP and Market Bucks programs at several markets throughout Southern Minnesota, and has experience in policy work as it relates to food access issues. Through her work with the MFMA, Susan hopes to continue growing a viable farmers market economy statewide, with a focus on building the capacity and strength of farmers’ markets in Greater Minnesota.
Annie Klodd, Adviser
Annie Klodd is a statewide Extension Educator for fruit and vegetable production at the University of Minnesota. She works with farmers across the state to deliver research-based guidance on growing fruit and vegetable crops. Her favorite crop to work with is pumpkins, but the most delicious is apples. She manages the UMN Extension Fruit and Vegetable Newsletter and co-hosts the UMN fruit and vegetable podcast called “What’s Killing My Kale?” Annie grew up on a vineyard in Iowa and holds a Masters degree in Plant Biology from Penn State University where she studied viticulture.
Ward Nefstead, Adviser
Ward is the an Associate Professor and Extension Economist at the University of Minnesota, specializing in Agribusiness, Commodity Marketing, and Farm Management.