Along with our local experts and speakers, we're happy to announce these special guests:

COLLEEN DONOVAN, Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association

Keynote Speaker

Colleen has been spotted at Washington farmers markets since 1998 when she headed north from California’s Central Valley to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. By 2003, she landed in Ellensburg to run Pacific NW regional programs for Heifer International and started partnering with local nonprofits, King County, WSDA, WSU, and small farms dedicated to community-based, just food systems. By 2010, the people, passion, and ethics of farmers markets had drawn her in. Colleen has likely recruited you for two WSU statewide farmers market surveys, over 20 Rapid Market Assessments, projects with Latino farmers, creating shopper promotions, and building farmers market integrity. Colleen and Karen Kinney stockpile their favorite tips and tools in the “Washington Farmers Market Management Toolkit” among other publications.

BEN FELDMAN, Executive Director for the national Farmers Market Coalition

Guest Presenter

Ben Feldman currently serves as the Executive Director for the national Farmers Market Coalition, where he previously worked as the Policy Director. Ben has spent his career in farmers markets. Prior to joining the Farmers Market Coalition, Ben worked at the Ecology Center where he helped found the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, served as vice-chair of the CDFA Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee, Administered the California Market Match Program, and championed policy to improve connect  low-income shoppers and farmers at farmers’ market. Ben also worked for the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association where he managed the first farmers market on a Kaiser Permanente campus.

Ben also has experience on the other side of the table, having sold produce and baked goods at farm stands and farmers markets. Ben is a graduate of the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems program and holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, Riverside.

KATHY ZEMAN, Executive Director, Minnesota Farmers Market Association

Kathy started working with MFMA in September 2012. She is also the owner of Simple Harvest Farm Organics in Nerstrand, Minnesota and is an occasional vendor at Riverwalk Market Fair in Northfield. Kathy first became aware of MFMA in 2009, when she was part of the effort to create Riverwalk Market Fair and attended a MFMA conference in Owatonna where she was impressed by the speakers and resources offered at that event. Kathy has spent most of her career in agriculture and brings those connections to MFMA, which has helped MFMA build strong collaborations with diverse groups and has paved the way for successful public policy efforts. Kathy’s favorite vegetable is any green leafy vegetable….but by far her favorite all-time food is milk.

SARAH DYLAN JENSEN, Farmers Market Manager + Social Media Maven

Guest Presenter

Sarah studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute for Design & Merchandising in Southern California. She immediately jumped into the design industry at Eddie Bauer followed by Tommy Bahama, Zumiez, Kische and Brooks Sports. After 10+ years in the industry, she decided it was time to move towards smaller, more localized focus, and away from all of the drama & politics that office jobs - even in fashion design - can bring. Sarah created Mockingjay Press with the dream of bringing desire back to small-town shopping. In this social media business, she helps bring awareness and insight to supporting small, local shops & businesses. Through curated connections in the community, she became the Snohomish Farmers Market Manager in 2015. As market manager, Sarah curates an engaging vendor mix working with local artisans, creators and farmers. Sarah handles the social media & graphic advertising for her (now 3) farmers markets, along with her growing client list in & around the greater Snohomish area. Sarah has been a featured speaker at the 2019 WSFMA conference as well as the 2018 Women in Business Conference.

CATT FIELDS WHITE, Director of San Diego Markets and the Founder of Farmers Market Pros

Guest Presenter

Catt Fields White is the Director of San Diego Markets and the Founder of Farmers Market Pros. That farmers’ market industry educational and membership organization promotes financial sustainability, community engagement and entrepreneurship for local market managers, small farmers and food makers. Their annual event InTents: The Farmers Market Conference brings farmers' market managers and participants from throughout the US and Canada together for three days of speakers, workshops and roundtables. Catt is the co-host of Tent Talk, the Farmers’ Market Podcast, and the Farmers Market Pros Community. 

At San Diego Markets, Catt and her team bring farmers to the city and more than 25,000 people to the table weekly by developing and managing multiple weekly, year-round farmers’ markets including San Diego County’s largest, the six-block Little Italy Mercato. 

A former restaurant owner, marketing manager and publisher, Catt writes and speaks about food, farms and business for regional and national publications and at conferences and events worldwide. She advocates for small farmers and markets as a Steering Committee member of the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets and a member of the National Farmers’ Market Coalition Forum. Her dedication to local food systems is inspired and motivated by her nine grandchildren and her determination to preserve healthy food options for them and for coming generations.

CHRIS VAN LEEEUWEN, Veracity Insurance Solutions

Chris Van Leeuwen started his insurance career in 1987 working as an independent agent with his family’s agency. Chris is a third-generation insurance professional and became the agency owner in 1994. In 2007, Chris sold the agency to a top 100 firm and focused his efforts on commercial lines accounts and specialty niche markets. Chris left the independent agency system and joined Veracity Insurance Solutions in 2012. He is currently VP of Business Development and is involved with various aspects of management, sales, training, and carrier relations within the agency. Chris has also been instrumental in the development and implementation of several national program and Risk Purchasing Groups. Chris’ interests outside the insurance industry include international travel, cycling, fishing, cooking, and spending time with the family.