Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 - Off to an Exciting Start with the AALS Presentation on Food Law & Policy

Best wishes to all for a Happy 2014.

For the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law, we are off to a particularly good start.

I was pleased to represent the Program at the Association of American Law Schools (AALA) Annual Meeting in New York City, January 2-5.  I presented at the AALS Agricultural & Food Law Section Educational Session, and I was pleased to have two of our distinguished alumni by my side on the panel.  Michael Roberts, Executive Director of the new Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law spoke about the new initiatives on the horizon for his Program, and Alli Condra, a Fellow with the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School spoke about the important food policy work the Clinic is doing.

Our panel was organized by our Visiting Professor, Professor Neil Hamilton, the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and the Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School. Unfortunately, bad weather prevented Neil from joining us.  Professor Jay Mitchell, law professor and the Director of the Organizations and Transactions Clinic at Stanford Law School was also unable to make the trip due to weather.

Despite record cold and about six inches of snow in New York City, our panel session was very well attended. Law professors from throughout the country joined us to talk about ways to teach food law & policy and how to integrate it into the law school curriculum.  Clearly, food law & policy studies are gaining ground as an exciting development in legal education.

As Melissa Mortazavi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, reported on the Food Law Professors blog that I administer and on Agricultural Law, the official blog of the AALS Agricultural and Food Law section,
One consistent thread emerged: food is everything-- meaning every kind of law, in all types of practice-- and the opportunities to explore food law and policy in the law school setting are varied and compelling. Some schools have taken on helping small food related business through providing practical how-to publications or support through their transactional legal services clinics. Some professors teach food law through courses like administrative law where they draw heavily on food related case law and regulations. Others are engaging with international food law through direct services; at Wake Forest, Barbara Lentz led a team of students this month to Nicaragua to help local farmers meet certification requirements for U.S. food imports.
We are proud that our LL.M. Program continues to provide leadership in this important emerging area of law.  We offer the only advanced legal degree program in the country that integrates the legal study of our food system, from production through consumption, literally from farm to fork.  And, we look forward to offering our expanded curriculum beginning next Fall to residential students and distance students as well.

In addition, we continue to serve in a leadership role in the academy by organizing and administering the Food Law Professors listserv and blog.

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