Greensboro Farmers Market Inc. (GFM), the community-based non-profit that manages the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market at 501 Yanceyville Street, is pleased to announce that Lee Mortensen has been hired as executive director after a three-month search.
"We look forward to Lee's growing the market in many ways," says Eric Calhoun, chairman of the GFM board of directors. "She is dedicated to the localism movement and her experience in developing community collaborations, event planning and destination marketing will serve the market and our vendors well."
She will assist the board of directors, which is made up of community volunteers and vendors, to support existing vendors, develop fundraising opportunities to enhance market programming and site infrastructure and elevate the Market’s visibility in the community.
"I look forward to helping the GFM develop new and diverse programs, serving as an advocate for the hardworking producers, coaching new entrepreneurs, as well as continuing to build the market as a local foods hub and connective community destination," Mortensen said.
Mortensen is committed to building the local economy, sustainable practices and creative place-making. She has been active in the local arts and culture scene for over a decade in many capacities from serving as co-chair of the Carolina Blues Festival for three years, to a turn as director of special projects for the Eastern Music Festival with a focus on the Fringe series.
For the past five years, as vice president of Downtown Greensboro Inc., she led a range of initiatives to build Downtown's activities and audiences. She refined and co-led First Friday, which recently was awarded an International Downtown Association Merit Award. This past spring she helped launch the new City Market adjacent to the South Elm Street area (now marketed as the Railyard at South End). She conceptualized and led the seasonal holiday shop small campaign "Green Saturdays" (which drew National Public Radio [NPR] accolades).
Mortensen also organized the annual Downtown Home Tours, and lent leadership to dozens of engaging events in the center city such as "Around Downtown In 80 Minutes" (spearheaded by Triad Stage), and lent logistic and marketing support to the recent Art In Odd Places (a collaboration with UNCG).
A graduate of Elon University with a degree in Business Administration, she is dedicated to lifelong learning and attends numerous conferences and seminars to learn and relay best practices in community and urban development. She has worked in economic development, marketing communications, manufacturing and the retail sectors, education and community engagement efforts, and will draw upon that expertise to in the new position.
Her passion for the local food movement originated with living on a 190-acre Maryland farm as a young child. Today, Mortensen grows heirloom organic varieties of leafy greens, root vegetables and beans in her personal urban garden to supply her family and friends with fresh vegetables. A long-time member of the cooperative grocery Deep Roots Market, she served on that market's board to guide the expansion and relocation to the current store, which opened in spring 2013.
About Greensboro Farmers Curb Market
The City of Greensboro began the Market in 1874 on Commerce Place downtown, where farmers backed their wagons to the curb to sell produce. In the 1950’s, the Market moved to its current location, a former armory building. Now scores of vendors and hundreds of customers enjoy this indoor market facility weekly.
Local vegetables, meats, prepared foods, flowers and crafts are available on Saturdays year round from 7 a.m. to noon. From May to December, the Market is open on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to noon. GFM’s Mission is to provide greater Greensboro with opportunities to purchase and learn about local food and crafts while interacting with producers and each other in a friendly and diverse social setting. In doing so, GFM will encourage and support growth of local foods and artisan goods businesses to improve greater Greensboro’s economy, support better health through healthy eating and build social and community connections.
GFM’s board is Margaret Arbuckle, Charlie Brummitt (treasurer), Pat Bush, Eric Calhoun (chair), David Craft, John Handler, Wade Walcott, Carol Pryor, Jean Pudlo, Mac Sims (vice chair), Craven Smith and Joya Wesley.