Michelle Walk, Michigan State University Extension Greening Michigan Institute educator, received the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) State Distinguished Extension Community Development Service Award at the NACDEP Conference in Park City, Utah, May 21.
In her role, Michelle focuses primarily on business development related to tourism and community food systems. She also serves as an innovation counselor with the MSU Product Center Food–Ag–Bio and as an affiliate with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.
Michelle works with organizations and communities across the Upper Peninsula and regularly partners with educators in other program areas, particularly agriculture and health and nutrition. Michelle has developed strong partnerships with key stakeholders in the region as well as with statewide associations and state agencies.
Michelle provides leadership and coordination for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Food Hub project, which develops and implements strategies to support the viability and sustainability of eastern U.P. agriculture and food production. Through the project, she has partnered with the Marquette Food Co-op to conduct an Upper Peninsula Agriculture Assessment and develop plans for improving access to processing, aggregation and distribution across the U.P.
In 2007, Michelle provided leadership to the development of the plan for the North Huron Scenic Pathway, a non-motorized pathway that will be nearly 80 miles in length once complete.
Michelle served as part of a team that in 2009 published an economic opportunity study for the U.P. and Wisconsin border counties. She continues to be active on the tourism strategy group and assists in the planning of a U.P. Tourism Summit. She’s also part of a team of MSU faculty and Extension staff that will work with the Michigan Travel Commission to update their strategic plan.
Michelle serves on numerous boards and commissions. She has received many awards including in 2011, the Community and Natural Resource Development Association’s (CNRDA’s) Raymond D. Vlasin Award that pays the highest tribute to Extension professionals who have consistently exhibited continuing leadership and excellence in Extension program planning, delivery and evaluation.