The Citizen of the Season Award for Winter 2012 goes to Michelle Bonner for her supporting role in the ‘Life of Zion Harvest’. Michelle is very unassuming about her roles in the Farmers Market and the Community Garden. She was ‘embarrassed’ to be recognized in a public way for her ‘background’ work on these important community events and hurries to acknowledge Lisa Zumpft and others. Lisa nominated Michelle with this statement: “Even before I came to this community, Michelle was instrumental in making our community a better place. Her involvement includes more activities than I am even aware of. She is a founding member of Zion Harvest. This includes her work with the Zion Canyon Farmers Market. She has been instrumental in its ongoing success by doing much of the “behind-the-scenes” work. She is also on the Z-Arts! Board, presently as the Workshop Coordinator. Several of her past Z-Arts! activities have included running the Arts and Craft Fair and volunteering for various events over many years. There are many personal stories of her helping individuals with weddings, funerals, illnesses, celebrations, animals, and much more. Due to Michelle’s unassuming nature, her contributions to the Canyon often go unnoticed. I want to ensure that she is acknowledged for her vital contributions.”
Michelle loves the Farmers Market, which has now had seven successful seasons. “It was our deepest desire to have the Market focus on the community – local farmers providing locally-grown food to local buyers who wanted healthier choices. My favorite line in our mission statement says 'and to enhance quality of life in Southern Utah by providing a community activity that fosters social gathering and interaction.' To Michelle, community is the most vital bit.
“I have lived in other towns, but I have never lived in a community anywhere else. When I was away, the sense of community and support is what I missed. This canyon is extremely unique. We are so fortunate. We’re all looking for ways to help each other. We don’t need thanks, that’s not the point, it’s all about service and concern. We know what we have here; everyone recognizes it and does what they can to keep it going. We pay it forward without expectation. This year has been extraordinary, from flood clean-up to sickness and health, birth and death. So many things happened that made it possible for us to strengthen our community bonds.’
Michelle came to the canyon in the early 1990s, left for awhile and then came back ‘for good’. “No one ever really leaves the canyon for good. You have to leave at least three times before anyone thinks you’re even serious about it. But you know when you’ve come back for good.’ She married Eric Bonner nine years ago, which was also for good, she says.