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July 29, 2023

Local food business owner named executive director of national Farmers Market Coalition

Charisse McGill, owner of French Toast Bites will become the first Black woman to lead the organization that serves over 8,000 markets across the country

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National Farmers Market Coalition Provided Image/Kory Aversa PR

Charrise McGill of French Toast Bites was named the executive director of the National Farmers Market Coalition. McGill is the first Black woman to lead the organization.

Philly food entrepreneur, Charisse McGill of French Toast Bites, is taking on a national role to help local businesses. McGill was named as the new executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, the organization announced this week.

McGill will be the first Black woman to serve in the role, leading over 8,000 farmers' markets across the country, helping elevate their business marketing. She aims to inspire more people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ community members to become market operators. 

"I am honored to lead an organization dedicated to serving and supporting local farmers' markets across the country, McGill said in a press release. Together we'll blaze new paths, sow seeds of change, and harvest a brighter future for farmers, consumers, and communities."

Before becoming a business owner, McGill was a farmers market manager for seven years. She grew her businesses Lokal Artisan Foods and French Toast Bites from Lansdale's Farmers Market to Christmas Village in Philadelphia before becoming the first Black woman to own and operate a food establishment in Penn's Landing.

Farmers Market Coalition is a nonprofit organization that works with farmers to help strengthen their operations. Its goals include helping farmers maximize their profits by selling produce straight to consumers, which allows consumers to increase their access to fresh and healthy foods and to increase local business and foot traffic in communities.

"We are thrilled that Charisse McGill has agreed to step into the role of FMC's Executive Director," FMC Board President Allen Moy said. "We are confident that her passion for this work and entrepreneurial spirit – developed during her time as both a farmers market manager and a farmers market vendor – will allow FMC to further increase its support for farmers market operators nationwide and to have an even greater impact upon our collective efforts to create a more sustainable and equitable food system."

The announcement of McGill comes right before National Farmers Market Week from August 6 to 12, which works to boost the visibility of farmers' markets. During Farmers Market Week, the FMC provides local markets with tools, guides, and marketing materials to help their businesses grow. 

The theme for 2023 is "Farmers markets are changing the way."