Appreciation for 14 Years of Dedication!
An executive director may wear many hats. Though generally ED’s are responsible for the overarching activities of an organization, a leader in this position has an opportunity to navigate organizational culture, envisions and explores far reaching possibilities and connects people together to strengthen networks.
This is one of Marilyn Firth’s outgoing legacies – a steadfast leader of Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market Co-op for 14 years!
First engaged with the cooperative as a vegetable vendor, Marilyn and her partner Bruce tended a small plot of land raising kids, farm hands, animals, bees and plants using sustainably-guided practices. Among many other community initiatives, Marilyn began to work for St. Norbert Farmers’ Market and eventually developed into the Executive Director to guide the cooperative into the dynamic organization it is today.
Over 14 years, an impressive list of achievements can be tallied under Marilyn’s helm, including consultation, piloting and continuation of Manitoba’s first and only year-round Winter Farmers’ Market at the Eagles Club, which led to the strategizing, fundraising and project management of a 4-season all weather canopy to house 70 permanent booth spaces enabling more people to access healthy, local food and high-quality goods all year long. She, along with past founders Bob Roehle, Phil Veldhuis, and a dynamic team from the Board of Directors with the support of the Cooperative also envisioned and built a shared use, 4 season accessible washroom facility that could benefit the community and increased the capacity for groups to use the market site for community events.
Over the years, Marilyn and the team trained and mentored dozens of young people in summer employment in agriculture, developing skills to thrive in their next endeavor. By emphasizing celebration in agriculture, Marilyn also created fun, educational and festive events like the Annual Farmers’ Feast in September, the Farmers’ Festival every summer, huge Canada Day celebrations and fireworks displays in historic St. Norbert.
Most recently, during COVID-19, Marilyn and Market Coordinator Nicole Dzuba adapted and pivoted to an online marketing system when isolation restrictions were in place, and maintained pressure to keep Farmers’ Markets open as an essential service like grocery stores. Their work was imperative to connecting healthy safe food to local citizens.
Marilyn’s legacy will be much so more. She was recently honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, given to Manitobans for their dedication to community building and service!
As a Cooperative, we want to thank Marilyn for all of her tenacity, flexibility, positivity and grit that has helped make Le Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market the place it is today!