Jamila Walida Simon

Ph.D. Candidate, Development Sociology

Research focus

  • Innovations in Food Insecurity in Upstate New York
  • Black Farming Cooperatives and the Story of Individual and Collective Purpose


Jamila's research looks at the lessons we can learn from Black farmers who participate in farming cooperatives. How did they develop their individual sense of purpose and how do they craft their collective sense of purpose? What can we learn from the innovations in the food systems that are produced within Black farming cooperatives? 

Jamila will capture the stories of Black farmers engaged in cooperative ventures and to work with the farmers to determine what their perceived individual sense of purpose was and how that may have changed or remained the same as they develop collective goals for a collective purpose. She will also capture the stories of Black farmers who are not engaged in cooperative farming ventures to see if there are differences in their sense of purpose and how they develop a collective purpose.

Finally, this participatory action research will explore innovations in the food systems since cooperatives are such unique spaces for growth and development. Black cooperatives specifically meet a need and are a new frontier for the Black commons.


  • Wells College, BS Environmental and Policy Science Values
  • Cornell University, MS, Natural Resources with a concentration on Science Education


  • Bobby J. Smith II, Jamila Walida Simon, and Desirée Y. McMillion. “What does Ferguson mean for the Food Justice Movement?”: Black Food Activists and New Visions of Food Justice. Target Journal: Gastronomica: The Journal of Food Studies. (forthcoming)


Current projects

Connect with Jamila