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Marty Gerencer

Give Back Great Lakes | Board of Advisors

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Marty's Story

Marty has owned and operated Morse Marketing Connections LLC (MMC), a marketing and business consulting firm, since 2002. Prior to the launch of MMC, Marty spent over 20 years with Gerber Products Company and worked with cross-functional teams to implement collaborative approaches to business practices. While at Gerber, Marty received the Chairman’s Award for her role in a collaborative baby and toddler marketing program that engaged multiple internal departments and several outside agencies and companies. 

Ms. Gerencer partnered with Wallace Center at Winrock International, based in Washington DC, to launch and co-lead the National Good Food Network (NGFN). The NGFN employs regional approaches to increase the supply of locally sourced food into communities through collaboration with regional teams around the country. Marty partnered with Michigan State University – Center for Regional Food Systems, to launch and operationalize the Michigan Food Hub Network. This statewide network brings together Michigan stakeholders interested in networking and learning to develop regional approaches that will increase the supply of locally produced foods in regions around Michigan.  

In 2017, Marty launched the West Michigan Shoreline Food Processing Initiative (WMSFPI) and continues to create many avenues of success in their goals of sustainability and redevelopment. This program would not be as such without the help of various partners all working towards the same goals.

Ms. Gerencer partnered with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC) and played an instrumental role in securing over $700,000 in grant funding to launch and operationalize the HEALTHY Muskegon network and program. Marty then expanded the partnership with CFMC to embark on the Muskegon Food Hub Feasibility Study, funded by USDA Rural Development and Consumers Energy. This study assessed the potential of a regional food hub and other related local food businesses to be developed in Muskegon County. Results of the study were released in 2015. The project has proceeded to implementation in 2016.  

Ms. Gerencer was appointed by Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden to the United States Department of Agriculture Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers specifically to represent a voice for women and minority farmers. Ms. Gerencer is a member of the National Women and Agriculture Network convened by USDA. She has contributed to the development of this network through informal briefings and updates with USDA. Marty has served as a member of the Women, Food and Agriculture National Advisory Council. Along with a team of local food experts, Ms. Gerencer was instrumental in getting “sustainable agriculture” included in the United States Green Jobs definition in 2009. She has been featured in the Washington Post and American Farm Bureau Federation News for her national work and has been featured in Mlive, Crain’s Detroit Business News and Michigan State University newsletters for her state and local work. 

In Michigan, Marty was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Food Policy Council and has served as a member of the Michigan Good Food Fund Advisory Committee, Upper Midwest Regional School Food Working Group, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Muskegon Rotary Club, Mission for Area People, Muskegon Farm to School Advisory Committee, and Aquinas College Alumni Association. Marty served on the planning committee for the Midwest Intertribal Food Conference – 2016 and is on the planning committee for the Farmer Veteran Coalition National Stakeholders Conference – 2016, both held in Michigan. 

Ms. Gerencer has contributed to the following publications; Sysco’s Journey from Supply Chain to Value Chain (2008-2009), Value Chains for Nutrition, International Food Policy Research Institute (2011), USDA Regional Food Hubs Resource Guide (2012), and the National Food Hub Financial Benchmarking Study Results (2014 and 2015).  Ms. Gerencer co-authored The Michigan Food Hub Network; A Case Study in Building Effective Networks for Food Systems Change publication (2014), Muskegon Food Hub Operation Feasibility Study Final Report (2015) and Muskegon Food Hub Operation Business Plan (2016).

Marty co-founded, launched and operationalized the Muskegon Rotary Grape Escape Event with Rotary President, Larry Wright and a host of Rotary committee members. This fundraising event offers a strolling venue where guests sample local foods, wine, beer and coffee from entrepreneurs in Muskegon County and neighboring counties. Funds are raised and awarded to a selected Muskegon County charity each year. Now in its thirteenth year, this event has grown to become Muskegon Rotary Club’s signature event and largest fundraiser with attendance of over 500 people. Marty served on the planning committee for the Muskegon Rotary Grape Escape for over three years, impacting the 2016-2018 efforts as co-chair. 2018 marked the 15th anniversary of the event and it was very successful.

Marty has served in numerous advisory, administrative and liturgical roles for Prince of Peace Catholic Parish, Muskegon Catholic Central, Catholic Charities West Michigan, and Diocese of Grand Rapids. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan and a Masters in Management from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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