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Charisse McGill is the new executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. Courtesy Photo.
Charisse McGill is the new executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. Courtesy Photo.

Charisse McGill, local food entrepreneur, named executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition

She will be the first Black woman to lead the organization, which serves more than 8,000 markets nationwide.

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A local Philadelphia-based food entrepreneur is taking the reins to lead the Farmers Market Coalition.

On July 28, it was announced that Charisse McGill has been named as the Farmers Market Coalition’s new executive director. She becomes the first Black woman ever appointed to the helm of the organization's leadership. 

The Farmers Market Coalition is a national nonprofit dedicated to strengthening and supporting more than 8,000 farmers markets across the United States, providing real income opportunities for farmers and expanding access in local communities, in the process. 

“We are thrilled that Charisse McGill has agreed to step into the role of FMC’s Executive Director,” said FMC Board President Allen Moy in a press release. 

“We are confident that her passion for this work and entrepreneurial spirit — developed during her time as both a farmers market manager and a farmers market vendor – will allow FMC to further increase its support for farmers market operators nationwide and to have an even greater impact upon our collective efforts to create a more sustainable and equitable food system.”

McGill’s experience spans farmers market management, community building, entrepreneurship and business development. 

She is owner and founder of Lokal Artisan Foods and French Toast Bites, getting her start at a farmers market in Lansdale. She’d later expand to Christmas Village in Philadelphia before going on to make history at Cherry Street Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park. 

McGill is the first Black woman to own and operate a food establishment in Penn’s Landing, and as a result of her later partnership with Yard’s Brewery, also became the only Black woman in the entire state of Pennsylvania with her own beer.

All she’s been able to accomplish in her career as a business owner was thanks to her start at a farmers market.

“I am honored to lead an organization dedicated to serving and supporting local farmers markets across the country,” she said in a statement. 

“Together we'll blaze new paths, sow seeds of change, and harvest a brighter future for farmers, consumers, and communities,” she added. 

Recognizing her roots in a network that gave rise to her own business ventures, McGill hopes to lead this organization forward, inspiring participation by- and opening doors for diverse, female and LGBTQIA+ market operators, producers, community leaders and allies. 

Overall, McGill aims to work with FMC staff and Board to expand membership, explore new programs, generate new resources, increase funding and amplify the group’s reach.

McGill’s appointment as FMC’s new Executive Director comes just in time for National Farmers Market Week, which runs this year from August 6-12, 2023.

Now in its 24th year, NFMW is an annual celebration that highlights the vital role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system, showcasing their value to customers, communities, local leaders and legislators.

The theme of this year’s National Farmers Market Week is “Farmers markets are changing the way…” a messaging that focuses not only on the essential role farmers markets play in local food systems, but also how market organizations are working to make change in their communities. 

Leading up to and throughout NFMW, McGill will connect with farmers market operators through online town halls and in-person visits, including an in-person visit to the USDA Farmers Market in Washington D.C., as she gets acclimated to her new role.

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