ILFMA awards lifetime membership

The Illinois Farmers Market Association presented its first ever lifetime membership to founding member Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant. Deborah recently retired from her role as ILFMA board member and, as an organization, we couldn’t think of a better person to gift this very special title to than Deborah.

The Lifetime Membership was awarded to Deborah in recognition for her contributions to the Illinois Farmers Market Association, and for her ongoing, highly valued, contribution to the further development and growth of the organization, farmers markets, and small farms across the state of Illinois. 

What do you say when a founding member of your organization retires?

What do you say when a founding member of your organization retires? When it comes to Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, we say, SHE IS AWESOME!

Deborah contributed so much during her time as a member and board member of the Illinois Farmers Market Association. Although she is much more than just a member of our team. Deborah contributed her time, expertise, and passion to the ILFMA. She was part of the organization when it was a small network of passionate partners working to provide guidance to new and beginning farmers and farmers markets. She was part of the team as it grew into a formal 501(c)3. And, Deborah helped to guide ILFMA as it crafted its future and vision as a state-level organization impacting farmers markets and the local food system across Illinois.

Deborah’s background is unmatched, which can be seen in her NCR-SARE Hero award recognition biography from 2017.

After her retirement, Deborah decided to work as a farmers market manager, overseeing the operations of the Old Capital Farmers Market in Springfield, and the ALMH Farmers Market in Lincoln. She saw firsthand the challenges that farmers market managers faced, and helped ILFMA to craft programs and training focused on addressing those challenges.

She was the ILFMA metrics expert, providing her expertise, skill, and understanding of the importance of documenting opportunities and impact. Deborah has always been a team player, helping others around her to achieve their goals.

Janie Maxwell, ILFMA Executive Director, had this to share about Deborah:

“I am the beneficiary of Deborah’s work. I have been the ILFMA Executive Director for seven years and I have relied heavily on Deborah for her expertise, experience, wisdom, and guidance. I came to farmers market world as a Registered Dietitian who had a lifelong love of farmers markets.  But, I didn’t have the expertise in operating farmers markets. Deborah shared her knowledge and wisdom with me and our team, helping ILFMA to plot strategies for the organization’s future, and creating and implementing partnerships and programs that kept our organization moving forward. I am fortunate to have had Deborah on our board as a consultant, board member, and chair of the Education and Training Committee, and executive team leader.”  

On behalf of the entire ILFMA organization, we wish Deborah well on this new chapter. Her impact will be forever felt, and recognized. She is greatly missed, already.