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Eat, Pray, Law: A Food Forum

March 28, 2015

A recent forum hosted by the law school represented the joint efforts of three programs—Business Law, Environmental Law, and Animal Law—to highlight a variety of important areas included under the umbrella of “food law.” 

Eat, Pray, Law: A Food Forum explored a broad spectrum of issues ranging from labeling and transparency to sustainability, urban agriculture, and food justice. The forum’s goal was to develop interest in and raise awareness of the food industry’s legal issues, challenges, business operations, regulations, and policy. Over 100 people attended the event.

“The strong interest in food law and policy was evident at this forum,” said Janice Weis, associate dean of the Environmental and Natural Resources Program. “We had students, policymakers, attorneys, and others interested in food issues in attendance. Each of the panels made clear how many interesting legal issues are involved with food, from its production to its transportation and consumption. We see food law as a natural fit for Lewis & Clark, given our three related programs, the strong growing interest in food law among our students, and our location in a city that prides itself on food production and presentation.”

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer was the keynote speaker and also a panelist for The Future of Food: The Farm Bill and Reforms From a National Lens.

“The congressman was very upbeat and motivated. He spoke of creating not just a farm bill, but a food bill,” said Vytas Babusis, a forum moderator and JD student. “He said we should be moving toward recognizing that we need legislation that addresses feeding folks, not just the exercise of farming.”

“The overall vision of the food forum was dynamic dialogue,” said Babusis, who also helped organize the event. “We based the forum on expert panels made up of people dealing with these issues daily, so we could hear different voices on each aspect of food and law. The panelists were able to engage each other and the public, respectfully and openly, as facts were presented.”

At the reception, said Babusis, he heard nothing but praise for the variety of the panels and the breadth of views expressed by both speakers and attendees. “Several people said it was the best food forum they had ever been to.”


Read more in the Law Street article.

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