by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
Last Thursday your reporters traveled to the state capital in Lansing to attend a session of the State Legislature to hear a reading of a proclamation and receive a framed tribute honoring the Rockford Farm Market’s victory in this past summer’s nationwide America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest.
We had been invited by the proclamation’s author, 73rd District State Representative, Pete MacGregor. The reading of the proclamation on the Michigan House of Representatives floor was precluded by a visit to Rep. MacGregor’s office on the tenth floor of the State Office Bldg. across the street from and overlooking the State Capitol. What an awesome vista!!
Following the office visit we were escorted to Rep. MacGregor’s desk, on the floor of the House of Representatives, at the beginning of the afternoon session in order to commemorate this occasion. Not only were we to receive this tribute, we were also privileged to sit alongside MacGregor and his House colleagues as they conducted the State’s business of the day. It was a high honor indeed as we were told, other than House members, only family members were allowed to be present on the floor.
For Squire readers, as members of the greater Rockford community and beyond, here as follows is the verbiage of the State of Michigan Special Tribute that was presented to the Rockford Farm Market, to the Rockford Lions, and to your humble servants as well:
State of Michigan
Special Tribute To the Rockford Farmers Market
LET IT BE KNOWN, That it is with deep appreciation for all of the hard work, commitment, and planning this occasion represents that we commemorate the awarding of the America’s Favorite Farmers Market, Small Market category to the Rockford Farmers Market of Rockford, MI. As members of the community and the people behind this enterprise gather to celebrate this event and express their confidence, we are proud to add our voice to commend everyone who has worked to make this day possible.
The annual America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest is held by the American Farmland Trust to raise national awareness about the importance of buying fresh food from local farms and saving the farmland where it’s grown. Rockford netted 6,083 votes, more overall votes than those in any of the other three categories. The Rockford Farmers Market achievement should boost local morale and stoke interest in the market beyond West Michigan. Nowhere is it more apparent than at our farmers markets across our state that Michigan is the best agriculturally diversified state, ranking second in the nation in crop diversity.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this summer, the Rockford Farmers Market has grown to include a diverse crowd of 30 vendors on average each weekend, requiring that vendors only sell Michigan grown or Michigan baked products. This was Rockford’s first time entering the City-sponsored market in this prestigious nationwide contest and Rockford City Administrators gave their complete and devoted support during the summer contest.
The contest also required the additional support of Market Master Bob Winegar and the Rockford Lions, district 11-C1 of West Michigan. For many years, the Rockford Lions have served as volunteer Market Masters overseeing the Saturday morning operations of this market. Many people understand that without the Lion’s valuable service and volunteer hours the Rockford Farmers Market would not be what it is today.
Additional appreciation is given to the hard work and invaluable support of Cliff and Nancy Hill. Their true commitment to the market was instrumental in coordinating and securing votes and the promotion of the contest that resulted in this award to the Rockford Farmers Market.
IN SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to congratulating the Rockford Farmers Market on being voted America’s Favorite Farmers Market, Small Market category.
(personally signed and officially sealed)
Peter MacGregor, State Representative Mark Jansen, State Senator
The Seventy-Third District The Twenty-Eighth District
Rick Snyder, Governor
The Ninety-Sixth Legislature
Thursday, November 10, 2011