Remembering Julia Govis, a Passionate Advocate for Healthier School Food

January 09, 2014 | Written By:

Remembering a dedicated advocate.

By Rochelle Davis, President + CEO

Late last month, we lost a strong and staunch advocate for local and sustainable school food when Julia Govis died suddenly on December 30. I have had the opportunity to co-present with Julia many times, most recently at the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food convening in September.

Julia spent much of her life dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture. She owned and operated two small farms in Illinois and worked in both livestock and food production for other farm operations. Most recently, she worked at the University of Illinois Extension as the Statewide Farm to School Program Coordinator, where she represented Illinois in the National Farm to School Network. Julia was also a mother of four and former educator, which fueled her passion for providing healthy, fresh food to all children.

Wes King, Executive Director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance, says: “Those that worked with Julia knew she was a committed mother, an author and a passionate advocate for local food systems and Farm to School programs, as well as other environmental issues. Her talents, enthusiasm and smile will be missed.”

Jim Slama, president of, calls her death a “big loss for Illinois and the Farm to School movement.”

Karen Lehman, Director of Fresh Taste, noted Julia’s unwavering dedication to making positive change and says, “This is a tremendous loss in so many ways. We can only begin now to experience the effect Julia had on all of us and on the food movement. We will miss her terribly.”

Anupama Joshi, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the National Farm to School Network, says, “Julia will be sorely missed by the many who were touched by her passion for this work, her humor and warmth.”

Our work to promote a healthy food system could not thrive without a wide and varied network of dedicated advocates for positive change. Julia Govis will be deeply missed.

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