Michigan Family Farms Conference honors the SAFS coordinator Julie Cotton with the Dr. LeRoy Ray, Jr. Award

Julie Cotton began as the coordinator for the SAFS program in 2008, and their first classes began in 2009. Over the last 15 years, the program has evolved as co-instructors had come and gone, but Julie continues to design transformative, engaged curriculum and teaches the three core courses for the undergraduate SAFS Minor. With civic-engaged, experiential learning as core principals, the SAFS program has supported many organizations and activities that contribute to sustainable and just agriculture and food systems in Michigan through their student project work.

From the MFFC Ceremony:
“This award recognizes a Food System Leader who is dedicated to bringing about positive change in their community through networking, education, advocacy, and groundwork. They are passionate about uniting people around community care through food systems education, cultivation or distribution as a means for increased resilience and well-being.

Julie helped establish the MSU Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program. She has developed and taught three courses for the program and has advised over 100 students. Her network of community partners, including MIFFS, is engaged directly in student projects and field tours. She chaired the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association in 2016.

Her courses explore how historical and current policy is created and reinforces current systems and incorporates underrepresented groups.”

I personally knew and greatly admired Dr. Leroy Roy, the work he did with youth, sustainable agriculture, Black farmers, and farmers of Color and his passion for education…. Julie Cotton has an incredible passion for educating students in the areas of sustainable food systems and community engagement.

-Nomination by Dr. Eunice Foster