Developing Food Policy: U.S. and International Perspectives April 16–17

Yale Law School, its Community and Economic Development Clinic and the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal will host a major food policy conference on April 16–17 at the Law School, 127 Wall Street.

Food policy is connected to a broad range of pressing humanitarian, public health and environmental challenges. The conference, “Developing Food Policy: U.S. and International Perspectives,” will bring together policymakers, scholars, activists, farmers and students to discuss strategies for achieving food systems that ensure the universal right to food, the health and well-being of communities, and the preservation of natural resources.

“Major public figures, including Michael Pollan and most recently First Lady Michelle Obama, have drawn attention to the importance of food policy to the health of our nation and the world,” said Robin Golden, who is the Ludwig Community Development Fellow and the Selma M. Levine Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale. “This conference builds on popular momentum at the local, state, national and international levels behind the development of sustainable agricultural systems. … Our ultimate goal is to assemble a coalition from the wide range of interests and disciplines represented at the conference.”

Golden added that an action paper will be drafted after the conference to “provide a blueprint for continued efforts to make effective change to existing food policies” in the U.S. A special symposium issue of the Human Rights and Development Journal will publish highlights of the conference with comments by several participants.

The conference begins on Friday evening with a keynote address by Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food. In that post, Olivier De Schutter promotes measures “at the national, regional and international levels for the realization of the right of everyone to adequate food.” His keynote address will offer a strategic vision for creating healthier, more equitable and more ecologically sustainable patterns of food production. Yale Law School Dean Robert Post will introduce De Schutter.

    Two concurrent “tracks” of panels will convene at the Law School on Saturday. The “U.S. Track” will focus on the interrelated public health, social and environmental impacts of American agricultural policy. Panelists will explore ways of addressing such diverse challenges as the obesity and diabetes epidemics, community economic development and climate change through federal legislative reform, coupled with local, state and regional action. The “International Track” will examine reform strategies, both locally and transnationally, aimed at ensuring food access in the developing world. Panelists will discuss such issues as emergent barriers to food security and the role of international institutions and international law in ensuring access to food.

    Conference participants from both tracks will come together for informal lunch discussions addressing topics such as the future of urban agriculture, intellectual property in bioengineered seeds and the role of law school clinics in securing access to food.

    Panelists will represent such diverse organizations as Grassroots International, Center for American Progress, St. Mary’s University, Oxfam America, Human Rights Law Network, Seattle University School of Law, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USDA, Union of Concerned Scientists), New York University Law School, American Farmland Trust, National Family Farm Coalition and Food First.

    Moderators will include Yale faculty members Kelly Brownell (Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity), Amy Chua (Yale Law School), Peter Crane (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies), Susan Rose-Ackerman M. Phil. (Yale Law School) and James Silk (Yale Law School).

    The conference is made possible by the generous support of several sponsors including the Agrarian Studies Program and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale; CitySeed, Inc.; Yale School of Public Health; the Lawson Valentine Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights and the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School; the Rudd Center; the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy; and the Yale Sustainable Food Project.

    The conference is open to the public, and advance registration is required. The registration fee is $30, but Yale affiliates may attend for free. To register online, or for more information, visit http://www.law.yale.edu/news/foodpolicyconference.htm. Those with questions should contact Robin Golden at 203-432-4640 or robin.golden@yale.edu.

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    Media Contact

    Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345

    Kathy Colello: kathleen.colello@yale.edu, 203-432-4854