Marlie Wilson, the new Illinois Farm to School Network Coordinator at SGA, brings a wealth of experience in garden programming, food justice, and grants management to her role. At SGA, she will be responsible for engaging Illinois Farm to School Network members across the state, developing new resources for the network's key programs, and building capacity for farm to school at the state level.
She got her start in community food systems as an intern for Just Food, a non-profit focused on food justice and sustainable agriculture in New York City, where she supported their "City Chicken Project"—helping with workshops on keeping chickens and building chicken coops in community gardens.
The Boston-area native then spent a year as a FoodCorps service member at The Food Project, providing garden-based education for two elementary schools out of the organization's 10,000-square-foot greenhouse in Roxbury, Mass.
"I got involved in farm to school, connecting kids to local food and engaging them in hands-on gardening and culinary activities, because I saw the incredible power that the movement had in holistically building a healthier community," Marlie says. "Farm to school not only encourages students to eat more nutritious foods, but also makes an investment in local growers and food suppliers. It's a strategy to support economic, public health, and environmental goals, but most importantly, it does so by strengthening relationships throughout the community."
'Marlie earned a B.A. in 2012 from New York University, where she majored in food justice. She earned a joint M.S. degree in urban and regional planning and agroecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017. While in Madison, she served as the Farm to School Grants Manager at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.