Saturday, February 2, 2013

James Haley Appointed Research Fellow for Food Recovery Project

In the United States, we waste from 1/3-1/2 of the food we produce.  By one estimate, this constitutes about 150 trillion calories.  Two billion people could be fed for a year with the amount of food that is thrown away in the U.S. each year.

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In addition to the food waste, however, consider all of the resources that went into the production and sale of that food -  the production inputs, the processing, the packaging, the transportation -  all simply wasted. 

And, waste is not only expensive, it's bad for the environment.  More than 34 million tons of food waste is generated in the U.S. each year. Nationally, it's the single largest component of Municipal Solid Waste that goes into landfills and incinerators. 

Meanwhile, 14.5% of our population is "food insecure." Arkansas has one of the highest rates in the U.S. with a food insecurity rate of 18.6% rate.  Even more alarming -  28.6% of Arkansas children are food insecure. 

Thanks to the generous award of assistance from the University of Arkansas Women's Giving Circle, the LL.M. Program hopes to do something to address these problems.  We are undertaking the Food Recovery Information Project.  

Businesses seem to almost uniformly say that they cannot donate food because of liability concerns.  Yet, there is a federal law, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act that provides excellent protection.  Some state laws provide even more protection. We will be drafting a guide that explains the statutory protection, analyzes what a business needs to do in order stay within the terms of the law, and encourages businesses to develop safe, sensible food recovery policies. Extra food should first go to non-profits that can use it to feed those in need. Food that is not acceptable for human donation can often be used in animal production; and anything else should be composted.  

We are excited to announce that LL.M. Candidate and Arkansas attorney, James Haley, has been named Research Fellow for the Food Recovery Project. 

James received his J.D. from the University of Arkansas where he served as the Executive Editor of the Journal of Food Law & Policy and as an extern in Walmart’s Environmental Compliance department. James received his M.B.A. from Columbia Southern University while on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in the infantry for twenty years. James is licensed to practice in Arkansas and will be working with area businesses in the development of the guide.

We thank the Women's Giving Circle for making this project possible.  And, we are delighted to have another project that links our food and agricultural law studies with real world problems and solutions.

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