CUESA Welcomes a New Director of Education

December 16, 2005

This week, CUESA welcomed a new member to our staff with the hiring of Julie Cummins as Director of Education.

Julie’s interest in sustainable food systems began in college during her courses in Conservation and Resource Studies at U.C. Berkeley. She supplemented her education by earning certifications as a Permaculture design consultant and an Alameda County Master Composter. For over ten years, Julie has taught and managed Bay Area environmental education programs that connect children and adults with the natural world. Most recently, as the Education Program Coordinator for Greenbelt Alliance, she was responsible for educating people about the value of our region’s natural areas and agricultural lands and the importance of building sustainable, livable communities.

Julie began cultivating a personal relationship with her food through backyard gardening. She found few greater joys than experimenting in her kitchen with strawberries, tomatoes, arugula, or garlic from her own garden. She further fed her interest in local agriculture as a gardener at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s organic farm, known as the “mother garden” for its abundance of unusual heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. She also kept bees for two years in her Oakland neighborhood, which not only provided her with a fragrant, sweet harvest of honey, but also allowed her to observe pollination in action in her backyard. She continues to enrich her knowledge of plants and ecosystems through enrollment in horticulture courses at Merritt College.

Julie’s first task in her new role at CUESA will be to direct a comprehensive education planning process. A committee of CUESA Board and staff members and participants from the sustainable agriculture community will convene to create a vision and plan for the next two years of CUESA’s educational programming. The committee will develop ideas for projects and programs that fulfill our mission of supporting a sustainable food system. Once the education plan is complete, Julie will provide leadership for the development and implementation of new programs and oversee the management of existing programs.

To introduce yourself to Julie or share your ideas for CUESA’s education programs, email