THE COMMON MARKET GEORGIA NAMES NEW DIRECTOR
Atlanta native Lily Rolader has been with the local nonprofit food distributor since its 2015 inception
ATLANTA -- July 27, 2017 ¬-- The board of The Common Market Georgia (CMGA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lily Rolader as the organization's new director.
Rolader began working at the local nonprofit food distributor while it was still in the planning stages in 2015 as a college intern and by July 2016 had worked her way up to become operations manager for an organization that provides local farm food to 80 wholesale customers, including Emory University, Georgia Tech and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
She replaces founding director Susan Pavlin, who has resigned, but who will continue to serve on The Common Market Georgia board.
“Lily has been with The Common Market Georgia from the start and played a big role in its growth, embracing the opportunities and overcoming the obstacles that come with any new venture,” said board chair Cicely Garrett. “She is passionately committed to our mission of supporting local farmers and increasing access to their products to all, and she is uniquely qualified to take that vision to its next phase of expansion.”
Rolader is a direct descendant of one of the original settlers of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood and of a long line of Atlanta food-and-drink entrepreneurs. Her great-grandfather Ivon Rolader owned and ran the Red Ridge Dairy, as well as general store and spring-water businesses bearing the family name that are still remembered by some elderly Atlantans.
Rolader’s interest in food access issues dates back to her student days at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a public policy major minoring in entrepreneurship and environmental science, she worked on the Blank Family Foundation’s Georgia Food Oasis Campaign, helping to promote healthier food choices by customers of the Super Giant Food Store in Atlanta's low-income Westside neighborhood.
As a sustainability intern for UNC Chapel Hill's dining services’ Real Food Challenge, she sat in a basement for four months going through food purchase invoices to calculate what percentage of the offerings in the dining halls were local and sustainable.
“That experience is what first got me thinking about the huge impact large institutions like universities can have on local food access and small farmers’ businesses,” says Rolader. “This is pretty much exactly what Common Market Georgia was created to do. Which is why I’ve found working here to be so fulfilling and the prospect of leading this organization so exciting.”
During her two years at CMGA, Rolader has performed almost every available task, from scoping out potential farmer partners and obtaining licensing, to packing fruit in boxes; from signing up new wholesale customers and obtaining HACCP food safety certification, to receiving deliveries; from setting up delivery truck routes, to driving those routes to fulfill customer orders.
She becomes head of CMGA at a time of exciting growth and change. In late 2016, the organization moved operations from the Sweet Auburn Curb Market in downtown Atlanta to a new 60,000-foot warehouse in East Point, where new coolers are currently being installed.
The Common Market Georgia was also one of four Georgia partner nonprofits to recently receive a $1.45 million grant the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to offer education and promotion of local, fresh foods in early care and learning programs through the state's Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative.
About The Common Market Georgia
The Common Market Georgia is a 501(c)3 nonprofit local food distributor founded in Atlanta in 2016. Three times a week The Common Market Georgia trucks pick up fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meats from 32 farmers within 250 miles of its East Point warehouse and delivers it to hospitals, universities, schools and grocery stores in Atlanta and nearby Georgia. It is a sister organization to The Common Market Mid-Atlantic, which was started by a married couple of community activists in Philadelphia in 2008 and from which CMGA receives operational assistance. The Georgia, Mid-Atlantic and (soon-to-launch) Texas Common Markets are the first in a planned national network of interdependent food hubs dedicated to selling local food to healthcare and educational institutions, both to increase access to healthy food for underserved populations and to ensure large, stable markets for small local farmers. The Common Market currently serves the Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore and New York City metro areas. For more information, visit http://www.thecommonmarket.org.