Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy Newsletter

Winter 2016

Executive Director Michael Roberts Publishes First Food Law Treatise

The first major treatise on food law in the United States, Food Law in the United States, authored by Resnick Program Executive Director Michael Roberts, was recently published by Cambridge University Press. A testament to the emergence of the field of food law, the treatise provides a comprehensive legal framework for the regulation of food. The book addresses the developing legal tools that fill gaps in this framework including litigation, state law and private standards. Covering a broad expanse of topics including commerce, food safety, marketing, nutrition, and emerging food-system issues, such as local food, sustainability, security, urban agriculture and equity, the book is an essential reference for lawyers, students, non-law professionals and consumer advocates.

Resnick Program Report Examines How Law Schools Can Improve Food System Inequities

In November, the Resnick Program published “Food Equity, Social Justice, and the Role of Law Schools:  A Call to Action,” a report analyzing the opportunity for law schools within the University of California (UC) system and across the country to more visibly and holistically address the social, economic and environmental injustices in our current food system. The report was researched and written by Policy and Special Programs Director Kim Kessler and Senior Counsel Emily Chen, and prepared as part of the UC Global Food Initiative, which challenges the UC campuses to develop solutions to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. The report provides an overview of inequities in the food system, highlights case studies of law school activities from across the country that are contributing to a more equitable food system, and specifies ways to incorporate issues of food equity into law school curricula and student experiences, such as through clinical projects.

Research and Policy Fellow Emilie Aguirre Joins the Resnick Program

Emilie Aguirre joined the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy this fall as the new research and policy fellow. She comes to the program from the University of Cambridge, where she spent two years as a research associate at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR). Emilie is a food and health lawyer interested in the impact of laws and policies on food systems, diet, obesity and public health. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor’s degree in sociology, summa cum laude, from Princeton University. Her scholarship has spanned agricultural law, international trade law, corporate law and human rights law. Emilie is at work on research projects ranging from antibiotics in the food system to the role of corporate law in shaping what we eat. She has published two recent articles: “Liberalising Agricultural Policy for Sugar in Europe Risks Damaging Public Health” was published in The British Medical Journal, 351:h5085 (2015) and “The Importance of the Right to Food for Achieving Global Health” was published in Global Health Governance, Volume IX (1) (2015 Spring-Fall Combined Issue).

Resnick Program Co-sponsors Major Food Safety Symposium in China

In December, the Resnick Program co-sponsored a major food safety symposium with two of China’s leading law schools, Renmin University School of Law (Renmin) and East China University of Science and Technology School of Law (ECUST). The event, the Asia-Pacific Roundtable Third Session of Food Safety Governance, was held in Shanghai, China, as part of the China Food Safety Governance Initiative, which focuses on governance of food in China in order to ensure safe and healthy food for consumers. Panel discussions focused on social governance in both food safety and agricultural environmental production, and included presentations on Chinese, European, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese approaches by experts from each jurisdiction, as well as discussions around the implementation of China’s recently enacted food safety law. The symposium included an excursion to Tony’s Farm, which is the demonstration base of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, where attendees received first-hand instruction on international trading, direct selling, food import and general food regulation.

Farmer and MacArthur Genius Award Winner Will Allen Shares His Twenty-Year Journey in Urban Agriculture

The Resnick Program and the UCLA Food Law Society hosted an evening with Will Allen, a celebrated urban farmer and 2009 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient. Allen is the co-founder and CEO of Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin that has championed holistic farming in the cultivation and delivery of food in urban settings. During the talk, he presented more than 1,000 slides that catalogued his inspiring twenty-year journey in urban agriculture. He covered a range of topics, including broad issues of community food security and food equity, as well as nitty gritty farming issues, such as the importance of soil to sustainable agriculture. In addition to sharing his own inspiring story of leadership, Allen conveyed his deep and intricate knowledge of the growing process, describing his farm’s complicated and innovative techniques in aquaponics, vermicomposting, and using raised beds to produce an outsized amount of fresh, healthy food on a small plot of concrete land right inside the city.

Two Student Articles Published in Second Annual Student Compendium

The Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy has published two excellent student articles as part of this year’s Student Compendium.  The articles, “Bee Aware of Pesticides: Is the Legal System Protecting Our Pollinators?,” by Justine Coleman ’16, and “Environmental Regulation of Marijuana Cultivation in California: Got the Munchies for Some Regulation But Only Boring Old Sticks Are On the Menu,” by Damian Martin ’15 were chosen on the basis of their quality and topic relevance. Both Damian and Justine were students in the spring 2015 course, Sustainable Agriculture, taught by former Resnick Program teaching fellow Margot Pollans.

Save the Date!

Second Annual Resnick Program Spring Reception
March 10, 2016
The program will host an evening panel event, From Field to Food Truck: Careers at the Intersection of Food and the Law, on March 10, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. The event will be followed by our Second Annual Spring Reception and networking event for attendees, students, and local leaders in the food law and policy community.  Please RSVP here

Establishing Equity in Our Food System
March 11-12, 2016
UC Irvine School of Law, in conjunction with the University of California Global Food Initiative (GFI) and the Food Equity at Law Schools subcommittee, will host a symposium  in March on the issues of justice and equity in the food system.  The event features an impressive slate of speakers, as well as keynote addresses by Saru Jayaraman, director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, and José Padilla, executive director of California Rural Legal Assistance.  Students from all five University of California law schools will be attending the conference, through funding provided via the GFI, and will gather at the close of the conference to share reflections and discuss possible collaborations. To RSVP, please click here.