Meet Our Board Members: Lois Peterson
Lois Peterson is on our Executive Board. She is passionate about local foods, and the ability for them to become more easily accessible. She is working with us on the upcoming Norcross Community Market, which will be a model market including food demos, working to double SNAP benefits and implement senior benefits. She is as passion as the Association about local food and the community it brings.
Why did you join GFMA?
I am a founding board member of the parent non- profit, Project Generations Gap, and it was just a very logical step for me to be a part of the beginnings of the Georgia Farmer's Market Association. It is just one more way I can help to promote healthy, locally grown and sustainable food for everyone.
Why do you think others should join GFMA?
GFMA will support all three aspects of any farmers market in Georgia....farmers, market managers and consumers. Everybody wins when farmers' sales are increased, selections of locally grown foods are readily available, and consumers have easy access to these freshly grown and harvested products. Your membership makes this all possible.
As a board member representing friends of the markets, how do you support the work of GFMA?
I assist the board of GFMA by taking care of the secretarial needs of the board. I also am very involved in our new model farmers market in Norcross in seeking out and screening potential vendors for this seasons' Norcross Community Market. It's been exciting and enlightening to get to know many local food producers.
What is your involvement in Local Food Advocacy?
I have developed a passion over the last 15 years in seeking out sources of healthy locally produced foods and I have come to appreciate the need for these products to be available for all segments of our communities, which has not always been the case. Beginning in 2013, Project Generation Gap and now the Georgia Farmers Market Association gives me a more formal platform to assist in making that happen.
How do your beliefs align with the mission of GFMA?
As I mentioned above, I believe in convenient access to local and sustainably grown foods for everyone and GFMA does just that.
What’s the most exciting progress you saw in 2015?
The most exciting progress we saw in 2015 was the formation of GFMA as a viable non-profit representing all regions of our state.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2016?
In 2016 we will be conducting our first model farmers market, training food educators, and making local food access a reality in a new market. Participation in this Norcross market will bring in additional shoppers who qualify for our Wholesome Wave program and senior benefits.
What advice would you give to somebody trying to accomplish similar things?
I think being a part of a bigger organization like GFMA would help anyone wanting to promote better local food access. I don't believe in reinventing the wheel!
What’s your favorite food season? Why?
I know my favorite food season is summer. The abundance of produce available gives us all more choices to create healthy and delicious meals.
Tell us about an “aha” moment you’ve experienced while supporting food local food access.
Being a part of the supporting local food access has opened my eyes to the fact that many people do not know what to do with a lot of the produce available at our farmers markets. That is why I am so excited that we are partnering with Open Hands' non-profit, Cooking Matters, to train and provide food educators for our member markets starting with Norcross.
Why do you choose local food and how does that impact you?
I personally have had health issues that have dramatically improved by following a whole foods approach and locally grown foods have the most nutrients to be able to accomplish this task.
What markets do you shop at regularly?
Unfortunately there is not a local farmers market near where I live, but I have enjoyed stopping in at many of the surrounding markets to sample the products. I have used some of the online markets as well, but really would rather select my food in person and get to know the farmer who produced it on a personal basis.
How have you seen local food impact the community?
"When local foods are available at a farmers market a sense of community develops. Farmers and community organizers and shoppers get to know each other. Everyone looks forward to their weekly visits as all of the segments support each other."