Board of Directors

Linda Bader
Linda Bader is a market manager and current partner in a small farm that sells at markets who has seen the effects MIFMA has contributed to the success of both. She feels that serving on the Board of Directors is the perfect way to give back to an organization that has done so much for her. Promoting farms, farmers markets, and food access initiatives is a key part of her desire to serve. Linda hopes to bring a unique perspective to the board, along with her perspectives as a certified market manager, market vendor, and a farmer. She has a Bachelors in Computer Science with a minor in management. She has worked as a computer programmer/systems analyst, owned a website design business (while raising three children), and currently owns and manages ten rental properties. These experiences have trained her to be analytical, organized, and good at working with people.

Shane BernardoShane Bernardo
Shane Bernardo is a lifelong Detroit resident involved in social justice and primarily food justice issues.  He is currently the outreach coordinator for Earthworks Urban Farm, a program of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Shane is also a member of Detroit Asian Youth Project, Uprooting Racism: Planting Justice, The People’s Platform Detroit, Groundswell and the Detroit Equity Action Lab. Shane grew up working in his family’s small, ethnic grocery store on the west side of Detroit. For 13 years, his family helped cultivate a safe, nurturing environment for the South East Asian, West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures to purchase culturally relevant foods. These transactions also allowed for the sharing of recipes, traditions, rituals and ancestral struggles linked to these foods. As a result, Shane developed a heightened awareness of social and economic conditions within the context of a racially, ethnically and culturally stratified community.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 5.39.09 PMChris Broadbent
Chris has spent the past 8 years on markets across Michigan in a multitude of roles. He has been a vendor of co-operative foods, organic vegetables, and organic plants, as well as serving as a manager, coach, and volunteer. Chris has served as a board member for West Michigan Glass Arts Center, the IDEA Association, and the Open Roads Bike Program. He currently serves as the MIFMA Interim Board Chair and is seeking his third and final two-year term on the board. He enjoys supporting the MIFMA staff and members in the work of advancing farmers market with equity, sound governance, and critical thinking, as well as continuing to offer his creative problem solving and listening skills to the board.

Patrice Brown
Patrice Brown is the Food Access Coordinator at Eastern Market Corporation. She has worked at Eastern Market since 2015, first as a Food and Health Fellow, then as the Assistant Food Access Coordinator. Before that Patrice worked with the community in various ways, including as a community organizer for the Michigan State House of Representatives in Detroit’s third district, a recruiting assistant at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, an executive staff secretary and community advocate for the City of Detroit, and a substitute teacher. Patrice earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan, then went out to study Law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. A life-long Detroiter, Patrice says her mission in life is to fight for social justice and ensure that in this time of Detroit’s urban revitalization that everyone has access to healthier, wealthier, and happier lifestyles.

Laura Gillis
Laura is one of the market managers for Growing Hope, tasked with the redevelopment of the Ypsilanti Farmers MarketPlace. Laura has a long history of nonprofit work, including serving as Executive Director of the Center for Arts Information (New York City) and serving on the board of the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Washington DC). As a manager with experience in nonprofit organizations and farmers markets, she wants to work with MIFMA to translate organizational opportunities and challenges into plans, strengthen and develop its role, and collaborate on fundraising initiatives. Laura hopes to bring a forward-thinking, collaborative approach to supporting markets and market managers across Michigan, extending food security, and developing MIFMA’s role in promoting a healthy sustainable food system.

Julia Kramer
Julia currently serves as the Farmers Market and Breadbasket Food Pantry Manager for the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing. She has previously served as a board member for the East Lansing Food Cooperative (ELFCO) from April 2016 – December 2017 and helped oversee the process of shutting down its’ retail store, visioning a new incarnation for the co-op, developing a business plan, and seeking funding. Julia is eager to deepen her already close relationship with MIFMA and its programs, and to support its work with her time and energy. In addition to enthusiastically serving as a committed board member, Julia currently serves as the Chair of MIFMA’s Advocacy Committee and enjoys a stellar record of attendance and participation at meetings, conference calls, and other related events.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 5.49.48 PMLisa Oliver-King, MPH
Lisa is the founding executive director for Our Kitchen Table (OKT), a grassroots organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With funding provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, OKT is developing a set of best practices and evidence-based applications for how community women can improve health and wellness by building a healthy neighborhood food system. Essentially, OKT is addressing the diet-related and environmental health disparities that impact these women and their families. Information learned and documented will be used to help vulnerable children, their families, and the neighborhoods in which they reside. This information will lead to residents gaining a better understanding of their local food system, learning how to address systemic change in order to become food secure, and building neighborhood-based sustainability.

SharonSharon Ostrowski
Sharon is a fourth-generation farmer and the proud owner and operator of Sharkar Farm. Sharkar Farm is a fifteen-acre operation with 12,400 square feet of greenhouses (hoophouses), which is helping to extend her vegetable growing season.  Sharon sells 90% of her products at 10 local farmers markets. She specializes in specialty vegetable and herb production. In addition, Sharon is also the mother of 7 children, all of whom have or continue to help on the farm.

Ruthy Shemanski
As the past executive director of City Market, a supportive friend of MIFMA, and a member of its Advocacy Committee as well as a beginning farmer in the year 2019, Ruthy offers unique insight as both a certified market manager and farmer. She has served as a board member of the Downtown Management Board of Bay City and as director of its Marketing Committee. Ruthy is grateful to MIFMA for helping her in her role at an indoor farmers market and the many hours of counsel provided to her as a new market manager. She has made lifelong friends through the Market Manager Certificate Program and still wears her pin proudly! Ruthy is eager to further the work of MIFMA as it paves the path for other associations across the nation.

Connie Watson
Connie has a long history of working in community food systems in tribal populations to increase access to local and traditional foods, accept food assistance payments, and implement SNAP Education. Beginning in 2009, she started working with tribal growers of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to become farmers market vendors in Chippewa, Mackinac, Alger, and Schoolcraft Counties. Connie was instrumental in starting the Bay Mills/Brimley Farmers Market in 2015 and completed the Market Manager Certificate Program in 2016. She has been an integral part of growing the market and making an impact on local and traditional food access in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. As a MIFMA board member, Connie seeks to enhance new and growing markets and increase access to affordable local and traditional produce and goods, while also bringing a tribal market perspective to the table.

Stephanie Willette
Stephanie is both a manager and a farmer and is closely connected with the farmers, business owners, and markets in Washtenaw County. She currently serves as a Steering Committee Member of the Ann Arbor Farm to School Collaborative and board member of the Kerrytown District Association and has been working cooperatively with other manager groups to strengthen the region. She has previously served as a Staff Member for Chelsea Community Kitchen. Stephanie is also the former Chair of the Farmers Policy Action Team, a working group of the Washtenaw Food Policy. She enjoys taking part in the larger state wide conversation of the role of farmers markets and the direction they are heading as our local food system evolves. Stephanie recognizes that MIFMA helps strengthen, professionalize, and give a voice to markets, and is proud to further these activities.