Farewell to the great Gina Bell

By now you have heard through the Forest Grove grapevine, or through last week's Oregonian article, or from the lips of the great Gina Bell herself ... she's hanging up her jersey as Farmers Market Manager (and her myriad other roles) at Adelante Mujeres and will be moving to a position at Portland Development Commission.

Last May, Gina turned 33 and used her birthday party to honor her all-time favorite sports star, Scottie Pippen (the #33 jersey for the Chicago Bulls). I think Gina phrased it something like this "I've waited my whole life to turn 33 so that I could host a Scottie Pippen-themed party."

There's something about superstars, those athletes or musicians or superheroes, who set themselves apart from the already elevated ranks of their peers. They are the visionaries, the team leaders, and the game changers.

You could say that Gina Bell has similarly distinguished herself at Adelante Mujeres. Over the past six years Gina has led the development of the Forest Grove Farmers Market into an outlet for community collaboration and economic opportunity. Her commitment to equal food access has made her a pioneer in creating socially and environmentally just food systems, and she has encouraged the expansion of this trend around the state of Oregon as a member of the Oregon Farmers Market Association board of directors.

Her work has encouraged Forest Grove to be a more unified and equitable community and has made a profound mark on each of us. And we are all eager to hear of the good work she will soon be doing in her new position at PDC, certain that it will follow her personal trademark of leadership and advocacy.

Like her idol, Gina leaves behind her an unforgettable legacy. So, as sad as we are to see her go, it seems symbolically fitting that Gina retires from Adelante Mujeres in her 33rd year.

Maybe we'll even induct her as the first member of the Adelante Mujeres Hall of Fame.--

Farewells and tributes from Adelante Mujeres community members:
"Gina's confident and upbeat personality has been a real inspiration to me since I started at Adelante Mujeres. She will be sorely missed." --Anne Morse, Adelante Agricultura

"Gina put her heart and soul into the farmers market, and that's why it's the best farmers market in the world" --Jesse Nichols, interim Farmers Market Manager

"Gina ha sido una presencia muy importante en Adelante Mujeres, una persona con quien ha sido un placer trabajar y a quien, en lo personal, se va a extrañar mucho." --Arturo Villaseñor, Programa de Educación para los Adultos

"Gina has demonstrated admirable dedication and devotion to Adelante Mujeres over the years.There is no doubt much of the success of Adelante Mujeres, particularly the Forest Grove Farmers Market belongs to Gina. She helped guide the organization with compassion, discipline, and a fabulous sense of humor. Her work has left an indelible mark on the community, she will be missed." --Kate Jackson, Adelante Mujeres Development Director

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