Julie Cotton

Program Coordinator, Instructor, and Advisor for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) and Ecological Food and Farming Systems (EFFS) programs

Julie Cotton


Plant & Soil Sciences Building
1066 Bogue St. Room A264
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: 517-353-0439

Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Specialization at Michigan State University


B.S., Texas A&M University, Bioenvironmental Science
M.S., University of Michigan, Natural Resources and Environment

General areas of expertise:

  • Sustainable Agriculture Education - experiential methods, community engagement, and interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Agroecology, Urban Ecology - matrix and entomological methods

Overview of current program:

I coordinate, advise and teach with the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems undergraduate minor, and the Ecological Food and Farming Systems graduate specialization. While the programs are based in Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, we include academic content from eight contributing departments. We create an engaged learning environment that helps students locate their interests in the social and economic context of the food system, while ensuring agricultural literacy and a strong understanding of biological concepts associated with agriculture practices.


Philpott, S. M., Cotton, J., Bichier, P., Friedrich, R. L., Moorhead, L. C., Uno, S., & Valdez, M. (2013). Local and landscape drivers of arthropod abundance, richness, and trophic composition in urban habitats. Urban Ecosystems, 1-20.

 Niewolny, K., Grossman, J., Byker, C., Helms, J., Clark, S., Cotton, J., & Jacobsen, K. (2012). Sustainable agriculture education and civic engagement: The significance of community-university partnerships in the new agricultural paradigm. Journal of agriculture, food systems, and community development, 2(3), 27-42.

 Uno, S., Cotton, J., & Philpott, S. M. (2010). Diversity, abundance, and species composition of ants in urban green spaces. Urban Ecosystems, 13(4), 425-441.

Cotton, J. A. (2009). A Study of Beetle Biodiversity in the Forests, Gardens, and Vacant Lots of Detroit (Masters thesis, University of Michigan).

Courses Taught:

CSS/ESA/HRT/ANS 124: Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

CSS/ESA/HRT/ANS 424: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems: Integration and Synthesis

HRT 491: Select Topics in Horticulture: Urban Agriculture

CSS/ACR 892B: Ecological Food and Farming Systems Graduate Seminar

Websites of Interest:

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems undergraduate minor

Ecological Food and Farming Systems graduate specialization

Ecological Food & Farm Stewardship Student Club (Adviser) 

Everybody Eats conference (Planning Committee)

Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (Secretary)

Find us on Facebook:

SAFS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SAFSS/

EFFS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EFFSGrads/


SAFS:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Sustainable-Agriculture-Food-Systems-MSU-4811933

EFFS:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Ecological-Food-Farming-Systems-MSU-4826750

List Servs:

I manage the following MSU listservs. Click the links (List Serv’s Name) below to sign up!

AGROECO: events, conferences, jobs and internships in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

EFFS: Listserv for the EFFS Student Club events and opportunities such as potlucks, workshops, film screenings and meetings.