Updating My Recent Food Law & Policy Work

Since moving to Seattle earlier this year, I've continued my longtime focus on scholarly research and writing, popular-press writing, and public speaking in the area of Food Law & Policy.

Last month, for example, I was honored to take part in a faculty workshop at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. At the invitation-only workshop, food-law faculty and other scholars from around the country presented works in progress to fellow faculty. I discussed a draft of my article on the historical origins of food freedom, which I trace back to colonial America and which I tie to language in both the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. The Academy of Food Law & Policy, where I serve as a founding board member, sponsored a fun mixer during the workshop.

In addition to my food-freedom research, I’m currently working on an article on the law of foraging--which I also focused on in my book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable. I’ll present that working paper in September at a Vermont Law School faculty colloquium. While I've been working on scholarly writings and reviewing those of others at workshops, I’ve also served as an invited peer reviewer for several scholarly publications, most recently for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics.

I've also kept up a busy speaking schedule, with recent talks in Hawaii, Oregon, and elsewhere. I've also made several appearances in the media. These include appearances on NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show and on popular radio shows in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and elsewhere around the country.

In addition to regular speaking appearances, I've also taken my writing to new venues. The New Food Economy, an award-winning, long-form food-policy website, published an excerpt from my book in May. That was followed by the publication of two original pieces I wrote for the website, both of which expanded on topic areas I covered in my book. The first New Food Economy piece focused on a massive 2014 recall of tainted meat that was spurred by a combination of inane USDA slaughterhouse regulations and incompetent USDA oversight. My second piece for the New Food Economy, published just last week, focuses on fatal flaws within the USDA’s dairy checkoff program. In addition to these and other articles, I continue to write a weekly online column for Reason, where I recently celebrated my fifth anniversary as a regular columnist. In one recent column, I detailed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' hearing of Idaho's appeal in the so-called "ag gag" case, which I attended in Seattle last month. Readers may recall that I helped organize an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, who rightly challenged the Idaho law as violative of their First Amendment rights.

Finally, on a more personal note, I'm thrilled to have received word last week that I've been awarded a garden plot in the Troll's Noll, a small community garden in the city's Fremont neighborhood. The garden is located around the corner from the famed Fremont Troll, and a short walk from my home. While it's late in the planting season, the plot already contains a gorgeous blueberry bush, to which I hope to add tomatoes, herbs, and hot peppers!