Board of Directors

MIFMA’s bylaws specify an eleven-member board. Four positions are to be held by farmers market representatives from around the state, two positions are to be held by Michigan farmers who sell their own products at farmers markets, and five positions are to be held by professionals with a vested interest in our mission and vision. The mission of MIFMA is to advance farmers markets to create a thriving marketplace for local food and farm products.

Linda Bader

Linda Bader

President

In 2016 Linda became a MIFMA certified market manager and started the St. Louis Farmers Market. Since then she has been a cheerleader for MIFMA and highly engaged in many of the organizations programs. She has been a two-time mentee in the Mentorship program, implemented SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, Prescription for Health and WIC & Senior Project Fresh at her market, taken part in the Farmers Market Metrics Study, and had been a member of the MIFMA Board of Directors since 2018. Linda believes the success of her market is due in large part to the support received from MIFMA. She is honored to be given a chance to give back and do her part promoting farmers markets in Michigan.

Her passions are collaborating with others to make huge impacts, increasing access to healthy food, and helping market vendors be successful. Linda’s education and professional life includes; a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a 20-year career in computer programming and website design. Linda currently runs the St. Louis Farmers Market and owns and manages residential rental properties.

Alexander Steward

Vice President

Alexander Steward has been involved with several Michigan Farmers Markets for many years, currently serving as the Market Manager of the Westside Farmers’ Market in Ann Arbor and the Market Assistant at the Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market. He completed the MIFMA Farmers Market Manager Certification Program in 2018 and has participated in numerous MIFMA programs and events, including presenting multiple times at the Michigan Farmers Market Conference. Alexander currently serves as Chair of the MIFMA Advocacy Committee. He is the proud graduate of Schoolcraft College and the University of Michigan - Dearborn. Additionally, Alexander has served for over a decade as a Community Events Organizer in Southeast Michigan.

Julia Kramer

Julia Kramer

Secretary

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 Racial Equity Committee and enjoys a stellar record of attendance and participation at meetings, conference calls, and other related events.

Amy Fisher

Treasurer

Amy Fisher currently serves as the Dean of Business and Professional Studies at Mid Michigan College. In her role as dean, Amy oversees the Business & Accounting programs at the college as well as the Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, and Computer Information Systems. Amy also works with international students and directs the LUCES program at Mid. Prior to her role as dean, Amy served as a Senior Business Consultant with the Mid-Michigan region of the Small Business Development Center. During her time with the SBDC Amy obtained her Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) designation as well as her Certified Small Business Consultant (CSBC) certification. Prior to joining the team at Mid Michigan College Amy worked in the Risk Management and Insurance field. Amy obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration from Saginaw Valley State University and her Masters of Science in Administration with a concentration in Leadership, from Central Michigan University. In addition to her degrees, Amy also has obtained her Graduate Certificate in College Teaching from Central Michigan University. Amy currently lives in Midland Michigan with her husband Jim and their dog Bella. Together they have four children who live throughout the beautiful state of Michigan.

Anna Almanza

Anna makes a conscious effort to purchase Michigan grown and produced products whenever possible to support local food and farming entrepreneurs in our state. She not only enjoys visiting the variety of farmers markets that the greater Lansing area has to offer, but since her job requires statewide travel, she also makes a point to visit farmers markets and farm stands across the state. Anna looks forward to the Farmers Markets at the Capitol events, and in the last year, she had the opportunity to participate in MIFMA's Racial Equity Committee. In her current role as the Policy Analyst & SNAP Outreach Coordinator at the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM), she leads FBCM’s effort to increase awareness, access, and enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This work provides an opportunity for her to interact with recipients and communities to increase awareness and discuss how to use SNAP benefits, such as Double Up Food Bucks, to increase their purchasing power in the local food system. It also provides her with an opportunity to share with MIFMA direct feedback from SNAP recipients regarding barriers and opportunities. She’s assisted other organizations in the past with their efforts to promote farmers markets directly to SNAP recipients.

Lauren Amallal

Since 2011, Lauren Amallal has apprenticed at three organic farms, an online farmers market, and purchased her own farm in Caro. Last year she began her tenure with the City of Caro. Originally hired to manage the market, she now serves as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. She looks forward to continuing her work with the city, and developing new and exciting ways to improve their economy. Lauren has 11 years of experience managing farmers markets in Michigan, and has been farming for the last eight. Prior to her work in the City of Caro, she owned and operated The Romeo Farmers Market in northern Macomb county where she fell in love with all things market related.

Erin Cole

Erin Cole is the Program Manager at Detroit Food Academy, teaching youth culinary and entrepreneur skills. She comes with a wide range of experience in the food and education field. Erin is a certified teacher with the State of Michigan and has been teaching Mathematics for the last 7 years. Erin is the cofounder of Nurturing Our Seeds, an urban farm and education center that focuses on growing healthy food, food equity, and food justice in Detroit. She believes that “Teamwork makes the dream work!” and that small regenerative agriculture and local food systems are the future of healthy food. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, making flower bouquets, and spending time with her children. 

Aliza Ghaffari

Aliza describes themself as "a farmer with the heart of an earthworm". They feel that the greatest wisdoms they have come to know are the ones they’ve found buried in the center of their compost pile. They co-manage Magnolia Avenue Farms, an urban farm that grows vegetables, herbs and flowers in the flood plains of Lansing. Aliza believes everyone deserves good food to eat and says, "Building a grassroots business that puts people before profit is what keeps [me] motivated when [I'm] hot and tired and covered in mosquito bites."

Denise Pike

Denise Pike is a certified urban planner with 27 years experience in municipal and non-profit development. Currently she serves as the Community Services Director for the City of St. Clair Shores. In her role she oversees the City’s Community Development and Inspection Department, which includes planning, zoning, building and code enforcement activities. Prior to her work with St. Clair Shores Ms. Pike worked for the Community Health and Social Services Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Southwest Detroit. While there she led the efforts to develop CHASS’ Southwest Center. She is passionate about food access programs and led CHASS’ Fresh Prescription program, a fresh fruit and vegetable prescription program, and the CHASS Mercado, CHASS’ seasonal produce market. She graduated from MIFMA’s Market Manager certification program in 2020.

Phillip Warsaw

Phillip serves as the staff economist for Farm2Facts, a farmers market data collection toolkit backed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is currently engaged in a research project detailing the tourism value of farmers markets and associated with the Community Sustainability Department with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. Phillip brings valuable insights related to measuring the impact that markets have on their communities.

Connie Watson

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.