988 SP Environmental Law: Food Systems Law and the Environment - §001, Fall 2014

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Instructor(s) Tai, Stephanie

Bestsellers such as The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life have brought greater public attention to the environmental impacts of food systems, especially industrial agriculture, than in the past. Legislative attention has also been on the rise with the more visible debate over the periodic Farm Bills, the primary agricultural and food policy tools of the federal government. We will explore current federal, state, and international debates over how the legal regime related to food systems can affect the natural and human environment through first, a background introduction into the relevant legal regimes, then secondly, case studies chosen by the class. These, in the past, have included concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), soil conservation programs, biofuel incentives, organic certification schemes, and other controversies. Class members will have several options in lieu of a final examination: a longer independent research paper that would satisfy the upper-level writing requirement; a longer directed-research paper in collaboration with a relevant agriculture/environment organization; or a shorter independent research paper and a shorter directed-research paper. Depending on student interest, appetizers cooked from locally grown ingredients may also be provided.

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