Some 25 years ago, Les Portello, Program Director of the California Dept. of Food and Ag, suggested to the Executive Director of Davis Farm Market, Randii MacNear, that she should get in touch with NAFDMA as a way of gaining some professional development.
As Randii puts it, “I was instantly hooked. There was nothing like this organization with regards to their dedication to farmers. These were truly creative, innovative and hard working people who inspired me to no end. NAFDMA truly shaped what the Davis Farmers Market has become. As the President of the National Farmers Market committee and liason to NAFDMA’s board of directors, I was invigorated and excited year to year as I continued to enhance and develop the Davis Farmers Market by going to the annual conferences. I gained perspective on how to make this Market an agritourism destination by creating a full package experience. I learned a tremendous amount from my fellow NAFDMA members; from retail, to food placement, to employee management, to my own personal development, these brilliant and exciting folks helped me with it all.”
Kay Hollabaugh, of Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farms, knew nobody in NAFDMA before getting onto the board and meeting Randii some 15 years ago. As Kay puts it, “I instantly respected her as a board member and as a woman. During every discussion, Randii had the uncanny ability to listen to all sides before offering her opinion or resolution. She was an excellent mediator, was the voice of reason, never jumped on anyone’s bandwagon, and always brought a sense of calm into the boardroom. Her deep love, knowledge and respect of the industry, its farms and farmers was contagious.”
Fellow Hall of Fame member, Brent Warner, believes that “Randii MacNear is a pioneer. She was a leader and a voice for the farmer’s markets, for healthy eating, for inner-city access to good food, for good food for children, for living wages for farmers and farm workers, and believed that every farmer, large or small, direct retailers or wholesale growers, should all speak in One Voice for change. Randii came to the NAFDMA board when there was much uncertainty around whether or not farmers’ markets actually fit the NAFDMA profile. Within minutes of her first board meeting, it was crystal clear that Randii MacNear was a leader in every sense of the word and that the board and the entire NAFDMA membership would be enriched by having Randii there.”
Former NAFDMA President, Kerry Engel reflects on the four years she served on the board with Randii. “At my first board meeting, I met this wonderfully vibrant and deeply passionate woman. She was quirky and fun and was always willing to try new things. She was a foodie like me, so we would go together to explore the various cities that we visited during the conferences. Randii is deeply committed to family, and is an incredible role model to her daughter. And as a woman who manages to a career, a family, and an investment to her community, Randii truly is a role model to us all. She has taught me to stand for something, to be passionate about something, and to live life with a purpose. She’s shown me that leadership comes at all levels, not just from the top, and that the world needs more fun and whimsy, so you might as well dress up as a vegetable once in a while.”
When asked about what she believes her legacy will be with regards to NAFDMA, Randii modestly answers by saying, “I’m very proud of having brought farmers markets into the NAFDMA fold, and my hope is that others have been inspired by our work in this arena.”
Randii MacNear was inducted into the NAFDMA-Farmers Inspired Hall of Fame in 2013.