When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, small farms in central Illinois found themselves in a bind. Their wholesale business to local restaurants suddenly disappeared and they needed a retail market to reach consumers. Enter Evanston filmmaker Matt Wechsler, who conceptualized Village Farmstand to solve this need. In December of 2020, Susan Stenander joined as a co-owner of the business.
Wechsler first became involved with the Midwest local food system in 2013 when he met farmer Marty Travis during the filming of the documentary Sustainable. Marty’s advice was instrumental in designing the system used at Village Farmstand, which currently works with over 60 small farms in the Midwest.