2020 AFMA Award Winners

by | Mar 4, 2021 | News

Watch the Award Ceremony here!

Wanda Klimke Memorial Award for Distinguished Long-term Service

Named in remembrance of Wanda Klimke, long time dedicated AFMA board member, and a good friend of our association.

The Memorial Award honours a retired or deceased volunteer who has given much time and effort in direct service as a member and has promoted farmers’ markets throughout the community. The award is presented only when a suitable candidate is identified.

This year we are honoring Mary Mistol.

Mary was a founding member of the St. Paul Farmers’ Market.  She helped with every job imaginable and assisted in educating new vendors.  She is one of the biggest reasons the market is still in existence today.  Mary passed away in 2020 and is dearly missed. 


Outstanding Market Manager of the Year Award


This award recognizes those who have shown innovation in administration techniques, events, community involvement and promotions to improve their market.

Nomination must be made by a minimum of one market board members and two vendors.

To be considered for this award candidates should demonstrate these qualities:

Strong communication skills including the ability to communicate with vendors, board members, customers, media, surrounding businesses, potential partners, etc. They must have a proven ability to stay on top of social media and spread the word about the market but also to quickly and effectively deal with complaints before they become a problem.

Candidates should strive for continuous improvement for example: learning from their peers, learning from every store they go into, from every food show they watch, etc.

Candidates should be teachers: someone who is able to take their knowledge and help vendors improve, help customers and others understand their market issues, etc.

Candidates should be visionaries, big picture thinkers. Where do they see the market in 5 years and how will they help to get it there?

Other important qualities include: being in tune with what customers want and with what vendors need, showing creative thinking (in terms of layout, programs, etc.), being well rounded in retail, merchandising and sales, show creative problem solving, show integrity.

This year has been particularly challenging for all of our market managers as they adapt to the ever changing regulations to keep all of the vendors, customers and staff safe. We are very proud of the wonderful market managers we have in our province and would like to acknowledge all of our nominees.

Wendy Buyar, Bentley Farmers’ Market,
Roxanne Closson, St. Albert Farmers’ Market 
Melonie McKee, Millarville Farmers’ Market,
Brynda Roche, Sherwood Park Farmers’ Market,
Cheryl Shea, Crossfield Farmers’ Market, 
Melody Sample, Sexsmith Farmers’ Market,
Kandice Fithen, St. Paul Farmers’ Market 
Diana Neubauer, Salisbury Farmers’ Market 

This last season threw many curveballs at vendors and managers, and not everyone was able to participate or host a market. This manager has continually demonstrated tireless efforts in doing what she could to support the vendors and this year was no exception. This manager navigated the fierce waters to ensure that she could provide a market to as many vendors as were permitted. She spent countless hours creating, discussing and rearranging plans so that all the regulations were met. For this manager to host the market, she needed to work with all organizations to create a winning standard of practice. Those organizations included Alberta Agriculture, AHS, The Ag Society, an advisory team and vendors to provide a safe market for everyone. This was not a small feat by any means, the market looked different this year but where so many others simply gave up this manager did not. One of her goals was to ensure that vendors had a place to do their business, contributing to their survival during this unpredictable time, which she did exceptionally given the circumstances. This manager consistently demonstrates a ‘can do’ attitude, tremendous heart in growing the community market and contributes many extra hours to bring a market to the people.

Over the years, I have watched this manager continually improve and grow the market by learning and implementing new ideas. The can-do attitude that she demonstrates is tireless, her heart is what makes the market! It is my privilege to award this year’s Manager of the Year award to Cheryl Shea from the Crossfield Farmers’ Market.

Congratulations Cheryl!

Outstanding Perennial Vendor Award


This award recognizes the diversity of the talents of AFMA’s long term Make it, Bake it, Grow it vendors. The vendors must have been in business for five or more years.

To be considered for this award the vendors must demonstrate these qualities.  The products have to be local and unique. Characteristics of excellence and uniqueness include: packaging, labeling, marketing, popularity and customer impact for the market. These vendors have products that have stood the test of time, have a loyal customer base, and attract customers to the market.

This year’s winner is Michelle Chick of Thai Manna.

Michelle has grown this community focused business from her heart, and from her experience as a young mother trying to ensure her family had a healthy, original and quick meal on the table no matter what parenting disasters were unfolding. Watching her continuously change, grow, evolve, and adapt has been remarkable.

Michelle first appeared at the Millarville Farmers’ Market about 12 years ago. Her customers have been impressed with the ongoing quality of her products, her ingenuity in bringing new products to market, her business savvy in adapting her packaging materials to fit the times, and her community focus in providing her product for fund-raisers, and thank-yous to front line workers.
Michelle was one of the first to see the need for “food kits” that allowed anyone to create a full meal with just the addition of a few fresh ingredients. Recently she introduced the kits for crowdfunding fundraisers!

Thai Manna is definitely one Millarville’s most popular vendors and has quite the customer base at the markets and online. She has been a model vendor. She is always on top of everything! The samples, her packaging, the rules, the customer engagement, her fabulous marketing plans, as well as the smiles, she always has a smile for everyone. She and her staff have continuously been role model vendors.

Michelle is a joy to deal with, guaranteeing a perfect meal for all her customers every time. She cares for her community. Michelle and her team have staying power! Congratulations Michelle!


Outstanding New Vendor Award


This award also recognizes the diversity of the talents of AFMA’s new Make it, Bake it, Grow it vendors.  This time for vendors who have been selling three years or less.  The products have to be local and unique. Characteristics of excellence and uniqueness include:   packaging, labeling, marketing, popularity and customer impact for the market.

We applaud all new businesses who started out or stuck through this during this very difficult year. For the first time we would like to present this award to two of these very deserving candidates.

I am proud to speak about the Winners of the Outstanding New Vendor to an incredible business that was a delight and inspiration to all during 2020. We watched in awe as this business blossomed into overnight success right before our eyes! What is so inspiring is not only did these individuals made a very difficult and challenging decision to begin a business together in a very difficult time such as COVID 19, as well as to embark upon a business that would bring more to their families than money. These successful ladies wanted to show their children that anything is bigger than their present situation and that dreams could come true! Dreams that also come with hard work, teamwork, perseverance, and tenacity.

They joined our Sherwood Park Farmers’ Market on June 24th 2020 and were an instant sensational hit with our market, the community, and other vendors as well and most of all their families! It has been stated that children that grow up in an entrepreneurial environment are much more likely to see starting their own business or going self-employed as a viable career option. Through watching their moms dream unfold, their children became exposed to the business world, the world of farmers market, positive & professional customer service, teamwork, business etiquette, sales, and marketing, and so much more! These young people watched their moms through the pains of growth, the hardships, and the heartbreaks, and also through the many successes and celebrations. They also involved the help of other family members such as dad and so many more. Such an inspiration and a legacy they are giving their families! We were so blessed to be part of all of that! So, with great pleasure I would like to offer our deepest Congratulations to Erin Hayes and Jodi Nelson of COB QUEENS! These ladies were a market manager’s dream vendor in every way and represented a very bright, fun, vibrant business! You both are heroes not only to your children but also an inspiration to all single moms and also to anyone who is just beginning a business. CONGRATULATIONS Jodi Nelson and Erin Hayes of Cob Queens!

The next winner is Tammy Proctor of Tasty Kitchen Creations.

Tammy of Tasty Kitchen Creations joined our vendor team a couple of years ago. Since then we have watched her grow a thriving business. She is creatively coming up with new products, marketing in retail outlets and can be seen at many markets throughout Alberta. Tasty Kitchen Creations has become a family business. Tammy is a vendor to watch, she has energy, passion and a dream. She is a true entrepreneur building a great business.

Congratulations Jodi and Erin and Tammy!


AFMA Farmers Market Awards

We would like to once again acknowledge last season’s award winners and to thank our wonderful award sponsor, Western Financial Group. Our members make us great and our sponsors help make things happen. Please nominate anyone who you feel has contributed exceptional work toward their businesses and the excellence of Alberta Approved Farmers’ Markets.

Nominations will close on February 1, 2022 and the awards will be presented at the conference in February 2022.