Julie Dawson is the UW-Madison’s new urban and regional food systems specialist. She joined the university as an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture this past July and was the first UW-Madison plant scientist hired to specialize in urban and peri-urban agriculture.
Her program will focus on the needs of Wisconsin’s small, diversified, direct-to-market farms — including those located in and around urban areas — that sell their produce at local farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores, and through Community Supported Agriculture shares. It will also support the state’s community gardens, particularly those in urban areas where residents have limited access to good-quality, fresh produce. Her work, in both cases, will take into account the whole food system — including growing, processing, storing, distributing, transporting and selling — as appropriate and needed.