Staff & Board


Janie Maxwell, MS, RDN, LDN,

Executive Director, ILFMA

Janie is the Executive Director for the Illinois Farmers Market Association. She is passionate about expanding local foods and farmers markets. As a Registered Dietitian, she believes strongly in the health value of local food and advocates for local food by building systems that highlight the economic value of markets to communities and farmers.

Janie has a diverse professional background with experience in nonprofit management, managing nonprofit initiatives, and grant programs, including her work with Making Kane County Fit for Kids, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Kids Healthy Communities Grant. Fit for Kids became a nationally recognized leader in creating a culture of health, in part by improving access to healthy food. Recent work includes research with Northern Illinois University nutrition students on “Millennial Participation at Farmers Markets” and leading collaborative efforts with local farmers markets to enhance marketing and education initiatives.

Janie is a longtime farmers market customer and advocate and can be found at a farmers market somewhere, every week.

Joan Oberndorf headshot

Joan Oberndorf

Administrative Assistant, ILFMA

Joan Oberndorf has been the manager of the Andersonville Farmers Market, located on the northside of Chicago, since 2010. She’s passionate about increasing access to locally grown and produced food, and actively works to support local growers and local food producers. Joan is excited to work with ILFMA to promote and support Illinois farmers markets!

Board of Directors

Natalie M. Kenny Marquez

President, ILFMA

Owner, Grow Marketing + Communications, LLC
Certified Farmers Market Manager


Natalie is a born planner and communicator specializing in helping organizations determine their audience, tell their story, build their brand, and expand their reach. Natalie’s background includes 10+ years in municipal government outreach and communications, 5 seasons running Urbana’s Market at the Square, and countless hours working with small businesses and start-ups on their marketing plans and strategies. Besides owning Grow Marketing + Communications, LLC. Natalie enjoys swimming, health and fitness, shopping at farmers markets, blogging at Family To Table, spending time with her husband and their two young children, and wrangling the family puppy, Taco.

Dale A. Hazlewood, Vice President

Vice President, ILFMA

Certified Farmers Market Manager
Independent Special Event Coordinator

Dale has spent more than 25 years coordinating events of all types and sizes, from small fundraisers to large outdoor festivals. He spent five seasons leading Illinois’ oldest farmers market in Aurora, Illinois, expanding its healthful connection to the community and garnering over $400,000 in local, state, and federal grants. His FreshFirst, a fruit & vegetable prescription program, and annual Sauerkraut Day brought greater awareness to the long-lasting health benefits of local produce. Dale is a life-long gardener and micro-farmer, raising a wide variety of free-range poultry, fruits, award-winning vegetables, and flowers. As Vice President of the Illinois Farmers Market Association, Dale works to provide educational opportunities for statewide farmers market managers, vendors, and producers through workshops, webinars, and conferences. He also advocates for local food and culinary tourism and is known for his endless stream of ideas, targeted initiatives, and non-traditional resources.

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant

Secretary, ILFMA

Certified Farmers Market Manager
Owner/Consultant of New Leaf Consulting

Deborah is the Owner/Consultant of New Leaf Consulting. Before starting her consulting business, she was employed by the University of Illinois Extension employed her as a Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator. Deborah is a Certified Market Manager with more than 30 years of experience working in sustainable local food systems. Deborah brings a wealth of experience at the local, state, regional, and national levels. She is currently involved in several local foods and small farm organizations, including Slow Food Springfield.

Catherine Dunlap

Treasurer, ILFMA

Outreach and Events Coordinator, City of Bloomington

Catherine is the Outreach and Events Coordinator for the City of Bloomington’s Downtown Development Division. She manages the award-winning Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market and First Friday monthly promotion. Previously, Catherine worked in downtown development and community development for more than 15 years, including her role as the Green Economic Initiative’s associate director at Heartland Community College, the downtown development specialist for the Wisconsin Main Street Program, housed in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the executive director of the Main Street programs in Bloomington, IL, Cape Girardeau, MO, and Mascoutah, IL. Catherine has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Arts from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO, and recently completed her Master’s in public administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Laurie George

Board Member, ILFMA

Certified Farmers Market Manager

Regional Extension Associate in Food Safety, Cornell University

Laurie is a Regional Extension Associate in Food Safety at Cornell University. Previously she worked for 10 years with the University of Illinois Extension, specializing in small farms and local foods. Laurie has developed and delivered face-to-face and online programs that affect specialty growers such as hydroponics, fruit and vegetable production, Integrated Pest Management, greenhouse production, and incorporating the fundamentals of food safety relating to farm environments. She also focuses on developing and supporting local farmers markets and is passionate about promoting the idea of local foods and local food systems to area communities. Laurie received both her Master of Science degree and Ph.D. in Plant, Soils, and Agricultural Sciences from Southern Illinois University.

Yescenia Moto

Board Member, ILFMA

Certified Farmers Market Manager

Program Coordinator, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events

Yescenia joined the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (formally the Mayor’s Office of Special Events) in 2003 as Special Events Coordinator in the Programming Division. Shortly after joining the Programming Division, she joined forces with Green City Market founder Abbey Mandel to hire the first-ever Chicago Farm Forager. Working with the Farm Forager, the City’s application and regulations were revamped to ensure that all farmers are inspected for joining the program. She also works closely with several other City departments in making sure the farmer’s markets are up to code on city regulations. Over the past 12 years, she has coordinated several festivals and special events, including Viva Chicago, and the Chicago Living Pavilion at the Taste of Chicago, and many others.

Cathy McDermott

Board Member, ILFMA

Executive Director, Rock River Development Partnership

Cathy is the Executive Director of the Rock River Development Partnership (RRDP), a 501c3 whose mission is to bring business and people together to create place in Rockford’s urban core. The RRDP created the Rockford City Market in 2010, a Friday night seasonal market featuring locally grown and made items, to promote exposure to downtown, incubate new business and create a community gathering place. From 2015-2019, visitors to the market averaged 100,000 annually. The RRDP also manages the North End City Market and other local events. In 2019 the RRDP finished construction of the indoor market adjacent to the outdoor pavilion. The indoor market is home to 5 restaurant/retail businesses, 2 event spaces and a shared incubator kitchen.  Cathy is married with 3 grown children and one grandson and enjoys traveling, cooking, exercising, visiting local restaurants and spending time with family and friends. 

Stef Funk

Board Member, ILFMA

Communications Specialist, Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Stef is a multiracial Chicagoan who has worked with various institutions and nonprofits to support Chicago’s local food system. While earning her degree in Environmental Science from Clark University, she completed her thesis on the effect functional diversity has on carbon sequestration to inform climate mitigation policy in Costa Rica. After returning to Chicago, Stef went on to work with several organizations to improve their STEM curriculum, manage Plant Chicago’s and McKinley Park’s farmers markets, and become one of the Chicago Farmers Market Collective leaders. She now works with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council as their Communications Specialist and Food and Water Watch as a Midwest Organizer. She is passionate about educating all Chicagoans about the importance of local food and advocating for justice and equity for our growers, producers, and consumers.

Kent Miles

Board Member, ILFMA

Owner Illinois Willows

Kent is the grower and operator of Illinois Willows; a specialty cut flower grower located in Seymour, Illinois. He has a background in retail floral design and flower shop management. Kent started growing flowers as a hobby and developed it into a business. Kent has been attending Urbana’s Market at the Square for 15+ years and has also participated in farmers markets in Springfield, Mahomet, and Monticello. Kent has been attending Urbana’s Market in the Square since its first year. He serves on several boards: Danville Community College Horticulture Advisory Board, Parkland College Horticulture Advisory Board, Urbana’s Market At The Square Advisory Board.

Janna Groharing 

Board Member, ILFMA

Executive Director, Sterling Main Street

Janna has been the Executive Director of Sterling Main Street since 2013. Sterling Main Street oversees the operations of the Twin City Farmers Market, located in Sterling, Illinois, one of the few year-round, indoor farmers markets in the state. Expanded in 2020, the Twin City Farmers Market has doubled its capacity from April through October with the addition of the adjoining Sterling Marketplace pavilion. An avid supporter of all things local, from foods to small business, Janna has a diverse background, with over 20 years of experience in various hospitality positions, real estate and as a paralegal. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University.

Mary liz Wright

Mary Liz Wright

Board Member, ILFMA

Nutrition and Wellness Education serving Clark, Crawford, and Edgar Counties

Mary Liz Wright is passionate about improving the lives of the people of Illinois.


Her Blog title; Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy is exactly what she hopes people gain from attending her programs on food safety, food preservation, chronic disease and basic nutrition. Sharing research based information from the University of Illinois enables her to help people make good lifestyle choices that, in turn, make their lives better. She believes that people who eat well do better in school, perform better in the workplace and are contributing members of their communities.

Mary Liz earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Loyola University of Chicago and a master’s degree in Family and Consumer Science from Eastern Illinois University. 

Wright and her family are avid gardeners and raise sheep and beef cattle. Mary Liz and husband Phil are parents of three daughters, three sons in law, one granddaughter and one on the way. In her spare time, she reads, spins wool, knits and loves to walk in the woods and pastures of their Edgar County farm.