Friday, January 28, 2011

The Pickle Project

I just learned about a unique food, agriculture, and culture project that showcases the universality of our interest in food, agriculture, and sustainability. 

It does not involve our alumni, at least yet, but it comes to me through Professor Kelley's link to the Fulbright Scholar community.  And, I just contacted the women involved so I can make a connection for our Program.

The Pickle Project was spearheaded by two Fulbright Research Fellows, Sarah Crow and Linda Norris.  Both had the opportunity to live in Ukraine, a fascinating country with rich food and agricultural traditions.  Building upon their experiences, Sarah and Linda have developed the project as a "multifaceted effort that observes Ukrainian foodways and traditions, using them as a lens for exploring sustainability, community and change."

This is how they describe their work:
The recent designation of several foods and food practices by  UNESCO as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” illustrates a  growing recognition of the importance of food and food systems. For food  is not merely a commodity but also a symbol of identity and a direct  reflection of the human condition and our natural environment. As noted  food scholar Marion Nestle suggests, food makes abstractions real and  the political personal (2009). This arena of research is underdeveloped  in Ukraine, a nation, landscape and culture with an intimate and rich  history related to food production, scarcity, diversity and identity.
The Pickle Project ventures to illuminate those connections in  contemporary Ukraine, through personal stories, profiles and recipes,  and share them with diverse audiences using multiple vehicles. These  include social media, The Pickle Project blog, Twitter (you can follow us @PickleProject)  and Facebook networks but also through the development of innovative  traveling exhibitions and programs, that would tour the United States  and Ukraine. This suite of methods is designed to stimulate community  conversations about the interesting and increasingly relevant issues of  food, culture and sustainability.
Professor Kelley was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine five years ago, and his experiences there led to rich connections with this fascinating country and its wonderful people.  From my visits and our Ukrainian friends, I can attest to the intimate connections and the culture associated with Ukrainian food. Sarah and Linda may really be on to something here - particularly, as Ukraine's rich agricultural land comes under increased pressure for foreign control.

In addition to following the links above, check out their Kickstarter page. They are raising funds for the project and are close to their goal - although they have a February 1 deadline.  I just became a supporter, and on behalf of our program, I will reach out to Sarah and Linda.  Watch for further updates!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Visiting Professor Allen Olson to Teach Federal Farm Programs Classes

We are delighted to welcome back Allen Olson to serve as one of our Visiting Professors in the LL.M. Program.  He will be teaching two courses involving Federal Farm Programs, beginning this week with two days of intense instruction.  His classes will continue throughout the semester through digital video conferenced lectures and other distance technology, wrapping up with another in-person visit in April.

With over 30 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, most often representing farmers and agribusinesses, Allen brings a wealth of practical legal training to his teaching.  And, as an experienced lecturer and former professor in the LL.M. Program, it will be wonderful for us to have him back in our classroom.  He taught in the LL.M. Program when he served as an attorney with the National Agricultural Law Center from 1996-1998.

Allen received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1971, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1974, and his LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1996. He has practiced law in Virginia, Nebraska and Georgia.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Law Association and is a past Chair of the Agriculture Law Section of the Georgia State Bar. He is the author of numerous articles on agricultural law topics and is a frequent legal conference speaker.

Allen has a successful agricultural law practice in Georgia. His legal work is concentrated on agricultural law matters, including federal farm programs, payment limitations, USDA administrative appeals, crop insurance litigation, conservation easements, farm business planning, and other matters affecting farmers and related agricultural businesses.

In his free time, he enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including mule riding (in show competition) and donkey hikes. He is pictured below (left) with friends on a recent donkey hike in New Mexico.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Professor Kelley Begins Fulbright Position in Moldova

While we will miss him in the LL.M. Program this spring, we are honored to announce that Professor Christopher Kelley will be a Fulbright Scholar in Chisinau, Moldova during this semester.  He will be back next summer.

Professor Kelley teaches in the areas of economic and environmental regulation of agriculture in the LL.M. Program and teaches Administrative Law and the Rule of Law Colloquium in the UA J.D. Program. He will be on leave this semester, serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Moldova. He will continue to be involved with the LL.M. candidates and keep us abreast of his work through email and digital video conference (DVCs). We have plans for two DVCs with him in our Food, Farming & Sustainability class.

Professor Kelley is well recognized for his work in Eastern Europe. In 2005, he received his first Fulbright award, teaching in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Since then, he has traveled frequently to Ukraine and has lectured at nearly a dozen Ukrainian universities. In 2009 and 2010, he traveled to Minsk, Belarus, where he taught a condensed course at Belarusian State University.

With the assistance of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Professor Kelley has coordinated numerous digital video conferences between law students and law professors in Ukraine and professors and students in Arkansas. This fall, his Agriculture & the Environment class in the LL.M. Program held a DVC with law students in Ukraine to discuss environmental issues related to agriculture in both countries.

Professor Kelley has also developed expertise in the instruction of U.S. legal writing to international students.  He teaches law students at the prestigious Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine and at Moldova State University using the DVC technology. In addition, he teaches an annual U.S. legal writing seminar at the Inyurpolis law firm in Kharkiv, where he is a consultant.  He has also held legal writing workshops with law firms in Belarus.

Professor Kelley serves as Co-Chair of the Russia/Eurasia Committee of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. He serves on the steering committees for the Section's dispute resolution conferences in Moscow, Russia. He also participated in both of the World Justice Forums in Vienna, Austria, sponsored by the World Justice Project. And he was a delegate on the American Bar Association Section of International Law's International Legal Exchange (ILEX) program in Australia and New Zealand in 2010. He currently serves on the planning committee for the ILEX program in Jordan and Lebanon in 2011. He is also a member of the International Bar Association.

Professor Kelley left for Moldova last week, and we will do periodic posts to the blog to update friends and alumni on his activities.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Food, Farming & Sustainability

I am pleased to announce that my new casebook, Food, Farming & Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law, has been published by Carolina Press.  I even found it posted on Amazon today.

It is my hope that this casebook will encourage more law professors to teach, and more law students to enroll in, courses that explore our agricultural laws and the policies surrounding our food system.  And, as it attempts to honestly address some of the conflicts between traditional agriculture and current food policy advocates, I hope that it educates both sides of the debate, leads to a better understanding, and helps to produce agricultural lawyers prepared to confront issues of sustainability.

Here is the description of the book, as provided on the back cover:
Agricultural law is the study of the unique network of laws that apply to the production, marketing, and sale of agricultural products—the food we eat, the natural fibers we wear, and increasingly, the bio-fuels that run our vehicles.

Traditionally, agriculture has been favored with exemptions, exceptions, and special rules that reflect the uniqueness and the political power of the industry. In recent years, the study of agricultural law has expanded beyond its traditional scope to include issues of food safety and sustainability. Popular interest in agriculture has increased as consumers seek to know more about their food and where it comes from.

This book provides an issues-based study of these complex topics. It is divided into units designed to introduce some of the critical legal issues facing the industry and consumers today including: federal farm programs, the structure of farms and industrialized agriculture, environmental concerns, migrant labor issues, farm animal welfare, agricultural commercial law, and other topics. The book provides a mix of readings in law and policy. From its initial discussion of “agricultural exceptionalism” to its concluding remarks on the future of our food system, the book is certain to spark thoughtful dialogue.
The book is "[d]edicated to my grandparents and my parents, for affording me the great opportunity to be raised on a family farm; to my sister and her family for the care that they provide in preserving that farm; to my husband and colleague, Christopher Kelley for his inspiration and dedication to excellence; and to all of our past and future students in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law."

Particular thanks is extended to this year's and last year's class of LL.M. candidates for their patience and support while I worked on the book.  Their energy and their interest in agricultural and food law was very inspiring!