Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nicole Civita presents at Just Food Forum

Since 2015, Harvard Law School has hosted the Just Food? conference bringing together food system workers, advocates, scholars, practitioners and other authorities to present on important developments in the Food system.

This year’s Just Food? conference focused on labor in the food system, exploring the issues most relevant to those who grow, harvest, prepare, and serve our food.

The Just Food? forum is a collaboration of the Harvard Food Literacy Project and Harvard Law School Food Law Society and is co-sponsored by our friends at the Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School.

The one-day conference was packed with a series of excellent panelist, speakers, and presenters. Topics included agricultural worker rights, worker compensation in the restaurant industry, regulatory responses, and alternative ownership and operating models. Conference organizers hoped to shift attention toward a critical, but often overlooked, component of our food system: the  workers. "By amplifying the voices of those most embedded in our food system, we hope to educate participants, empower them to make positive change, and ultimately, work together to create a more just food system."

LL.M. Affiliate Professor Nicole Civita was invited to present a talk titled Ethics Over Exploitation: Moral Mapping of Food System Labor. A summary of the talk follows.

Conscious consumers in a market-based food movement seek to minimize the negative externalities of their food choices. But when we obtain our food through arm's length transactions, it is difficult to assess and avoid exploitation of people, places, animals, and commons. The Consumers, Certifications and Labels: Ethically Benchmarking Food Systems project is developing a comprehensive rating system for the ethics of food. This interactive session (led by a member of the project's Core Academic Team) explores the ethical issues associated with the labor and community components of the food system.

Nicole Civita is the Director of the Food Recovery Project and an Affiliated Professor with the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas. She is also Faculty and Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Sterling College, where she organizes the School of the New American Farmstead. Using a multidisciplinary, solutions-oriented approach that pairs legal expertise with hands-on food craft, Nicole's scholarship and teaching focus on food conservation, justice, and resilience, planning for place-based and community-driven food systems, and the power and limits of a market-based food movement. She holds an LL.M. in agricultural and food law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, and an AB from Columbia University.

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