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Dennis and Karlene LeathermanKarlene and Dennis Leatherman are the executive directors of the Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market Inc–they will be awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion honor.

The Chancellor’s Medallion is given to individuals the Chancellor deems deserving because of their significant contributions to all or a combination of some of the following:  the University, the region, the state or the nation.

The Leathermans have been active participants, volunteers and managers of the farmers market, helping lead the transformative community event.

“What an unexpected honor to receive the Chancellor’s Medallion,” the Leathermans said. “It is especially meaningful coming from someone who is rather new to the area and who has already recognized our accomplishments. We are continually heartened by the symbiotic relationship existing between the UWO and the farmers market.”

The Leathermans say it was originally the assistance of a UW Oshkosh sociology class that helped relocate the market downtown in 2011.

“Every week throughout the year we see many, many UWO students and faculty as vendors, employees of vendors, interns and volunteers,” the Leathermans said.

The Oshkosh farmers market began in 1994 with a handful of pioneering growers and vendors setting up at Division Street and Church Avenue in Oshkosh. The market moved to the Oshkosh City Hall parking lot in 1998. The Leathermans became involved in 2004 and then joined a committee to help modernize the market’s operations in 2007.

The market’s growth was unmistakable, evolving from a small Saturday gathering of 10 to 20 vendors to more than 50 in 2010. The Leathermans remained fixtures of the market, steadfastly donating their weekends to coordinate promotion and volunteer setup. They would later step forward to officially manage the market.

The Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market has been recognized as one of the most vibrant in the nation, with Saturday participants eclipsing 12,000 people. More than 130 vendors regularly participate. The Leathermans’ tireless commitment to the market’s evolution has earned them awards from the City of Oshkosh, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, the Southwest Oshkosh Rotary and the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Leathermans commitment to sustainability and building a stronger community is unmistakable. Like the growers their selfless service has benefited–they have helped cultivate and nurture what has become one of Event City’s jewels.

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