Saturday, October 26, 2013

LL.M. Alumna Margie Alsbrook Joins Farm Journal Foundation as Director of Operations

We are delighted to report that LL.M. Program alumna Margie Alsbrook ('06) recently joined the Farm Journal Foundation as director of operations.  The Farm Journal Foundation is a non-profit corporation that houses Farm Journal's advocacy initiatives including Farmers Feeding the World and HungerU.  Congratulations, Margie!

Below is the Foundation's press release announcing Margie's appointment:

Farm Journal Foundation Expands Management Team

Mexico, Mo. (September 13, 2013)—Charlene Finck, president of the Farm Journal Foundation, announced today that Margie Alsbrook has joined the Foundation as director of operations. Alsbrook, who has an extensive non-profit background, holds a master’s in food and agricultural law, was the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Food Law & Policy and is a former business reporter.

“Margie’s unique combination of experience is perfect for our organization and our Farmers Feeding the World initiative,” said Finck. “From the moment she joined our team, she contributed to the success of our programs. We expect that to expand exponentially going forward, which will also extend the impact of our organization.”

“The Foundation is an exciting new endeavor from an organization with deep roots,” Alsbrook said. “The Farm Journal Foundation is only three years old, but has already established significant credibility in the hunger space and makes a deeper impact every year.”

“Margie has an ability to see complex issues from a wide variety of perspectives,” said Lesly Weber McNitt, director of government relations and program development. “Because of her breadth of knowledge, she can often articulate complicated concepts in an accessible manner.”

When she is not working on hunger issues, Alsbrook enjoys writing and researching about food and agricultural policy. She currently has a book contract with Springer Publishing on global agriculture and economics, and her work has appeared in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law and the Journal of Food Law and Policy.

Alsbrook’s primary hobby is volunteering, and she has a long history of public service. In 2011, Alsbrook was appointed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to collaboratively govern the third largest county in Arkansas. After completing her term as justice of the peace, she was selected for the Arkansas Bar Association’s 2013 Leadership Academy.

Alsbrook is also a member of the Hendrix College Alumni Board of Governors and the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Law Review and Bar Association Journal, Inc. She serves on the Uniform Laws Committee and the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Arkansas Bar, is an advisory committee member for the Endeavor Foundation’s EnergizeNWA initiative, is a past board member for CASA of Northwest Arkansas, a sustaining member of the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas, and has been the recipient of both the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Fayetteville School District’s award for Volunteer of the Year.

About the Farm Journal Foundation
The Farm Journal Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to sustaining U.S. agriculture’s ability to serve the vital needs of a growing world population with education and assistance focused on the unique interests of people and organizations aligned with U.S. agriculture. The Foundation houses Farm Journal Media’s myriad advocacy initiatives, such as the Farmers Feeding the World campaign and elements of the Farm Journal Legacy Project. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A'dae Romero Takes Leadership Role on Tribal Food Law / Food Sovereignty Issues

LL.M. candidate A'dae Romero has had a very busy Fall semester.  In addition to her classes, she has been actively involved with the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative, working with Initiative Director, Janie Hipp.

Consider the remarkable list of A'dae's accomplishments in the last month.
  • She was interviewed by Susan Youmans for the radio broadcast, What's For Dinner? This informative interview discusses food sovereignty, food security, and the potential impact of the new produce food safety rules on many tribes.

  • A'dae delivered a presentation, Food Safety and Tribes, during a Plenary session at the First Nations Development Institute's LEAD conference for non-profit and Tribal food businesses. Also at the First Nations conference, she participated in the formation of the Native American Food Alliance.
  • Last week, she delivered a presentation to the National Congress of American Indians titled Food and the Tribal Economy.

Vena A-dae Romero (Cochiti Pueblo/Kiowa) was born and raised in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. She co-founded serves as the Executive Director of Cochiti Youth Experience, Inc., a non-profit organization created to create opportunities for Cochiti youth to engage in traditional Pueblo farming as an important process to create a healthy, sustainable, and viable community.  A'dae also served as Pro Tem Judge for the Karuk Tribe of California before coming to Arkansas to attend the LL.M. Program.

A'dae has a remarkable list of accomplishments and service to indigenous peoples including serving as Special Assistant to the Governor, Pueblo de Cochiti; Grant writer, Big Valley Rancheria; Education Director, California Tribal TANF Partnership; Director of Native Vote 2006, National Congress of American Indians;  Tribal Advocate, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community;  Legislative Correspondent, Office of Senator Pete Domenici;  Assistant for Permanent Forum on Indigenous Affairs, The United Nations.

A'dae received her J.D. degree from Arizona State University College of Law where she participated in the Arizona State University American Indian Legal Program and the VITA Tax Preparation Program. She served as the Arizona State Lead for MTV Rock the Vote and co-founded Native-Poll-Ooza, Inc.  A'dae received her  B.A. from Princeton University with a major in Public and International Affairs.  She served as President of the Native Americans at Princeton.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kelly Damewood Appointed to Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship

We are pleased to announce that LL.M. Candidate Kelly Damewood has been appointed as the 2013-14 Marler Clark Graduate Assistant.

Kelly received her J.D. from Vermont Law School, magna cum laude. During law school she served as a Staff Editor to the Vermont Law Review.  She earned her General Practice Program Certificate which is awarded after completing a program of classes that teach substantive law through simulations and mock transactions.

Fall semester 2012, Kelly served as a full-time Judicial Extern to the Honorable Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington. Her additional legal experience includes a Summer Associate position with the Crag Law Center (public interest law environmental organization) and a legal internship with Rural Vermont (a non-profit small farm advocacy organization).

Kelly earned her B.A. from the University of Portland (English, Philosophy minor). Before attending law school she founded and operated a certified organic farm in Oregon.

Kelly recently passed the Oregon Bar Exam and will soon be licensed to practice law in Oregon.

In her assistantship position, Kelly will be writing for the acclaimed online news service Food Safety News, founded and supported by Marler Clark.
And, in fact, she has already published three headline articles.

The Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship is available due to the generosity of Bill Marler and his law firm, Marler Clark.  Bill is an internationally recognized as both an advocate for food safety and a litigator on behalf of victims of serious foodborne illness. He has been a tireless supporter of food safety and corporate responsibility through frequent media interviews, the very popular Marler Blog and his active Twitter feed, @bmarler. He was instrumental to the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act and for the USDA's declaration of additional E. coli pathogens as adulterants.  His start in food safety litigation is chronicled in the book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E.Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.

We are proud to have Bill as one of our visiting condensed course professors, teaching Food Safety Litigation in the LL.M. Program each year. We greatly appreciate his support.

Marler Clark is recognized as the nation’s foremost law firm representing victims of foodborne illness. Since 1998, Marler Clark attorneys have been involved in almost all of the major food poisoning cases in the U.S., representing victims of Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Norovirus, Salmonella, and Shigella outbreaks across the country.

Kelly follows in a great tradition of Marler Clark Graduate Assistants.  The first was Claire Mitchell who is now an associate in the Technology and Intellectual Property group of Stoel Rives in Seattle, Washington. Claire focuses her practice primarily on regulatory compliance and risk management within the food, beverage, animal feed, dietary supplement and agribusiness industries. The second was Alli Condra, who now serves as a Fellow with the Harvard University Food Law & Policy Clinic. And, last year's recipient was Andy Frame, a practicing attorney in Mississippi with recognized expertise in local food law & policy.  We are proud of all our Marler Clark GAs and proud to offer this opportunity to one of our LL.M candidates each year.

Congratulations to Kelly, and thanks to Bill Marler, Marler Clark, and the editors and staff at Food Safety News.

Friday, October 18, 2013

LL.M. Candidate Lauren Bernadett - 2013-14 LL.M. Program Graduate Assistant

I would like to introduce LL.M. Candidate Lauren Bernadett.  Lauren was selected as this year's LL.M. Program Graduate Assistant, and she will be working with me during the 2013-14 academic year.

With so many events happening here, and so much good news to share from students and alumni, I have asked Lauren to jump in and help with the blog. Watch for Lauren's upcoming posts and please send in your news.

Lauren earned her J.D. at the UCLA School of Law and was the 2013 Joyce A. Will Scholar in Environmental Law.  She served as a Managing Editor for the UCLA Law Review and took LL.M. alumnus Michael Roberts' Food Law and Policy seminar.  During law school, Lauren worked as a summer legal intern with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Land Law Section of the California Attorney General's Office in Los Angeles.  Lauren received her B.A. in Sociology cum laude, with high distinction, from UC San Diego.

Lauren is in the process of publishing her second and third law journal articles.  She recently published her first comment, Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration Offset Programs: Strengths, Difficulties, and Suggestions for Their Potential Use in AB 32's Cap and Trade Program, in the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy.  Her second article, which covers state-level aquaculture leasing and licensing regulations, will be published by the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review in early 2014.  Her third article analyzes the success of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement's tuna fishery treaty and will be published by the Chicago-Kent Journal of International & Comparative Law in mid-2014.

Most of Lauren's self-selected studies this year will focus on aquaculture.  In the near-term, she will be writing on financing aquaculture operations, developing her thesis on using shellfish in a carbon market offset program, and contributing content to the Fisheries Law Centre, a new non-profit research center founded and directed by LL.M. alumnus Adam Soliman ('13).

As far her Graduate Assistant work, Lauren has been working on the 2013 Food Law Update and presented her research on recent trends in "natural" food labeling litigation to the Food Law and Policy class.

Welcome to the LL.M. Program, Lauren, and thanks for your help with the blog!

Monday, October 14, 2013

LL.M. Candidate Erin Shirl Publishes on Food Assistance

Last week, I received a request for information about the impact of the government shutdown on women and children who rely on food assistance. The request came from Paula Sinclair, the Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Jewish Women's Archive. Paula is the sister of LL.M. alumna, Amy Lowenthal.

I asked Erin Shirl, an attorney this year's class to research and write a reply.  Erin is already involved in an independent study this semester involving the nutrition programs, so I knew this was an area of expertise.

The information that Erin reported was so important and so well researched, that I asked her to prepare it for the law professor's blog, Agricultural Law.  Erin's post was published at Harsh Reality: The Impact of the Government Shutdown on Food Assistance.  Check it out -  it has been getting excellent reviews and is being widely circulated.

Erin's research was used in an excellent blog post, Poverty and Hunger in the Face of the Government Shutdown by Jordyn Rozensky, Director of Social Media at the Jewish Women's Archive. The post is on the Jewish Women's Archive blog, Jewesses With Attitude.  It includes comments from LL.M. Professor Nicole Civita and an interview with Erin where she discusses her personal connection to this issue.

Erin's bio is as follows:

Erin Shirl is a candidate in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she received her J.D. in 2011; she also holds a B.A. (Political Science/ Russian Language) from Ouachita Baptist University, where she graduated magna cum laude as the Outstanding Graduate in Political Science. Erin is presently working on compiling a comprehensive legislative history of major federal food assistance programs in the United States, and is particularly interested in tracking American attitudes about food security over time. Prior to attending the LL.M. Program, Erin served as a Staff Attorney and Research Coordinator for the National Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform. She is admitted to practice law in the state of Arkansas.