Dru has a background in horticulture receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University (MSU), her Master’s degree from Penn State and her doctorate from MSU. In addition to her work with MIFMA, she and her husband also own and operate Ten Hens Farm in Bath, Michigan. She has managed MIFMA since its inception and is committed to building an organization that supports and promotes farmers and farmers markets across the state.
Amanda’s work with MIFMA is focused on improving food access for all Michigan residents by helping farmers markets participate in food assistance programs. Since MIFMA began in 2006, the number of farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits in Michigan has increased from 3 to over 125 in 2013. Amanda now also plans and facilitates MIFMA programs and events including the Market Manager Certificate Program, annual Michigan Farmers Market Conference, and Farmers Market at the Capitol events. Amanda earned a Bachelors of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University in 2009 and lives with her husband in Marshall, Michigan.
Samantha is from the Upper Peninsula and is a 2010 graduate of Northern Michigan University where she earned a Bachelors in Public Relations. Before moving to Lansing in 2014, she worked for the Marquette Downtown Development Authority as the Promotions and Events Coordinator and also served as back-up manager to the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market. Her fondest “on-farm” memory is helping to pick strawberries on her family’s farm in the Upper Peninsula. Samantha lives in Lansing with her husband, Dusty, and dogs, Gus and Reo. In her spare time, she enjoys being at the lake, fishing, photography, reading, writing and gardening.
Design and Branding Specialist
Emily graduated from MSU in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Natural Resources Communications and has been working in local food systems ever since. Growing up on a family farm in Kalamazoo raising sheep and cattle, her passions are for her family, agriculture and writing. In addition to her work with MIFMA, Emily works on her family’s farm and manages the Texas Township Farmers’ Market. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, Chad, and three children.
Hoophouses for Health Program Manager
As the Hoophouses for Health Program Manager, Rebekah’s work focuses on increasing access to Good Food for vulnerable families through increasing the season extension capacity of Michigan farmers and expanding Good Food infrastructure in Michigan. Rebekah earned a Bachelors of Science in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Resources and a Masters of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University. In addition to her work with MIFMA, she and her husband also own and operate Faivor Fresh Produce in St. Johns, Michigan. She enjoys spending time with her two children and husband growing and harvesting vegetables from their hoophouse.
Food Access Coordinator
As the Food Access Coordinator for MIFMA, Sydney is working to expand and support farmers markets in Michigan accepting SNAP benefits, Double Up Food Bucks, and other food assistance programs. Sydney graduated from Michigan State University in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and a specialization in Agribusiness Management. She is from Gaines, MI, where she first developed her passion for agriculture policy. Sydney’s hobbies include gardening, baking, camping, and road trips.
Emily is a longtime Lansing community member who is passionate about equitable access to fresh, local food, and she is very excited to bring her organizational and clerical skills to the MIFMA team. She lives on Lansing’s Eastside and enjoys going on walks (especially to nearby farmers markets!) with her dogs Benji and Marceline. When not in the office, Emily can often be found cooking with friends, writing for blogs and online magazines, and performing stand-up comedy at various venues in the Midwest.
Market Manager for Farmers Market at the Capitol
Chuck Grinnell – a lifelong Michigan resident, former business owner in Holt for over 25 years, and is the Director of the Holt Farmers Market since it was established in 2008. While Chuck has no personal experience as a grower or producer, his connection to agriculture and farming is in his DNA. Chuck’s grandfather, Milon Grinnell, served as the Editor in Chief of the Michigan Farmer Magazine for 25 years. As the Holt Farmers Market Director, Chuck became a MIFMA member and also served on the MIFMA Organizational Committee prior to his new position as the Capitol Farmers Market Manager in 2016. Chuck believes farmers markets serve as excellent opportunities for agricultural and food businesses to grow, and that these markets enrich the health, economy and quality of life in their communities.
Food Access Assistant
Rebecca Peña was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, she is currently a junior at Michigan State University. Her passion is working with children and is currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Communication Science and Disorders. She plans to pursue her Master’s Degree as well in CSD. Some of her hobbies include hanging out with friends, fishing , photography and volunteering.
Special Projects Associate
Michelle graduated from MSU in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. During her undergraduate studies Michelle was given the opportunity to get involved with local food and farming systems. Since receiving her degree Michelle enjoys living in Lansing while spending time with friends, family, and her small dog.
Lee Ann Viera
Hoophouses for Health Student Assistant
The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) and MSU Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) are pleased to welcome Lee Ann Viera to the team as a student assistant for the 2015-2016 academic year. Lee Ann will be assisting MIFMA and CRFS on their joint project, Digging In and Taking Root, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The project includes MIFMA’s Hoophouses for Health and CRFS’ Michigan Farm to School programs. Lee Ann will be performing a variety of administrative duties to assist with implementation of these programs.
Nicole made her way from the Chicago suburbs to Michigan State University in 2013 and will graduate in the summer of 2017 with her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, with an additional major in Music and a minor in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. She has fallen in love with Michigan’s diverse food systems and is excited to apply her experience as an editorial assistant and assistant market manager to her new position with MIFMA. In her free time, Nicole enjoys running, horseback riding, and cooking.