My New Law-Review Article Tackles Federal, State, & Local Foraging Regulations

I'm thrilled to share news that my latest law-journal article is now available online. The article, Food Law Gone Wild: The Law of Foraging, is the first-ever law-review article to focus on foraging, which I define in the article as "the harvest of foods which are not cultivated by man but that grow spontaneously in the wild, regardless of whether the 'wild' is an urban, suburban, rural, or wilderness area." It's also the first comprehensive look at National Park Service regulations, state foraging laws, and municipal foraging rules.

The article appears in the new issue of the Fordham Urban Law Journal. I wrote the article in conjunction with my appearance last fall as a panelist at the law review's annual Cooper-Walsh Colloquium.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

[L]aws at all levels of government in America increasingly target foragers. In a few cases, these restrictions are smart policy. But many foraging rules at the federal, state, and local level are wrongheaded and draconian. In recent years, for example, an elderly Illinois man was fined for picking dandelion greens in a Chicago-area park. Another forager was fined for picking edible berries in a suburban Washington, D.C. park.

Laws pertaining to foraging reflect the ongoing tension between dueling policy goals. On the one hand, many people wish to protect and defend public and private ecosystems. On the other hand, many people long to spend time in nature and enjoy the fruits of those aforementioned ecosystems. Despite the growing number of regulatory issues pertaining to foraging, legal and other social science scholarship on this issue is virtually nonexistent.8 This lack of guidance is particularly problematic because foraging is increasingly popular and because federal, state, and local foraging rules vary wildly, and often conflict.

This Article seeks to address and eradicate this scholarly deficit. Part I provides a narrow definition of foraging, discusses American foraging demographics and the growing popularity of foraging, and describes the benefits of foraging and some potential risks. Part II provides a brief history of foraging traditions in the United States and discusses the factors behind the development of America’s anti- foraging laws. Part III provides a detailed look at current federal, state, and local anti-foraging laws in the United States, with a special focus on select state and local rules, regulations at all fifty-nine National Park Service National Park units, and caselaw. Part IV assesses the impacts of foraging rules and proposes foraging rules that cities, states, and the federal government should adopt. The Article concludes that the ancient and valued practice of foraging deserves legal primacy that protects both foragers and the lands upon which they choose to forage.

Read the entire article here

This is my second law-review article to be published this spring. My article on the field of Food Law & Policy, co-authored with Emily Broad Leib, was published recently by the Journal of Food Law & Policy. My other recent publications include an op-ed on federal regulation of animal slaughter and local food in The Hill and an op-ed in the Orange County Register on the U.S. Supreme Court's potential hearing of an appeal of California's foie gras ban.