Another example of a farmers market manager being recognized for community engagement. Diane has been tireless in her work to create healthy activities along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, even as she rebuilt her own life after Hurricane Katrina took her house. Diane (and her business partner at Real Food Gulf Coast, Dita McCarthy) show the level of partnership that is possible with city governments and business communities that want markets.
Ocean Spring MS-The prestigious HOSA Bob & Virginia Meyer Award for 2011 was awarded to Ocean Springs Fresh Market organizer Diane Claughton on Saturday evening, December 3rd at the HO HO HOSA event in the Ocean Springs Community Center. The stunned Claughton received a huge ovation by the large crowd of nearly 200 attending the annual event. The award comes with a bronze plaque and a $5,000 cash award.
When announcing Claughton as the Meyer Award, HOSA President Melanie Allen said the Committee who made the choice for the 2011 Meyer Award was unanimous in selecting Claughton as the recipient. “We all recognize that Diane was instrumental in creating this successful Fresh Market event that is now a regular part of Saturday mornings for many people & families, said Allen “By being at the Depot location, she has created an event that brings shoppers downtown who buy from the local growers & vendors at the Fresh Market, and then these same people also eat breakfast at one of the restaurants downtown and then buy gifts at our specialty shops as they stroll our streets. The value of the Fresh Market has real economic impact for the City. It also teaches us the value of eating local fresh foods as they grow and become available season to season. Diane has a regular schedule of cooking events and interesting classes that provide free community education at the Fresh Market as well.”
Diane Claughton started Ocean Springs Fresh Market in 2004. A former librarian and chef, Diane started the Fresh Market to help supply consumers with quality, locally grown or prepared food products, to support local sustainable agriculture and to educate consumers about the health and social benefits of locally grown or prepared food. She is also co-founder of Real Food Gulf Coast.
HOSA: the Historic Ocean Springs Association is an active community organization whose mission is to make public improvements using donated funds. The HOSA Bob & Virginia Meyer Award is presented annually by HOSA. The cash award presented is income on funds that the Meyer’s donated to HOSA for the purpose of giving an annual award for “any endeavor that helps or improves the ambiance of Historic Ocean Springs” as the selection committee guidelines state.
Though she confessed to being “Gobsmacked” when she was announced as the Meyer Award winner, Diane said she “would like to thank HOSA for the award, which I feel is also an award to the vendors, past and present, of the Fresh Market. I would also like to thank the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce for allowing the Fresh Market to take place in their parking lot, and the City of Ocean Springs for the wonderful redevelopment of the Chamber parking lot. I thank the HOSA organization on behalf of everyone involved with the Fresh Market for recognizing what our little Saturday market brings to Ocean Springs.”