Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative

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Law At The Intersection Of Renewable Energy And Agriculture: November 6 CLE Program

In light of New York’s ambitious climate plan of generating 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, farmers and landowners throughout the state are harnessing renewable energy sources. This provides an amazing opportunity for farmers to be a part of the solution to climate change and to generate new income. At the same time, myriad legal issues must be navigated for farmers to effectively take advantage of these opportunities, and for planners and policymakers to smartly balance renewable energy goals with the protection of productive farmland.

This program is meant to help attorneys as well as farmers, planners, land trusts, and developers understand the legal and policy issues emerging at the intersection of renewable energy and agriculture. Join us for an in-depth and comprehensive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program led by experts in the field, including attorneys and policy advocates. The program will include sessions on the following: 

  • Regulatory and permitting issues (e.g. land use, tax exemptions, and Article 10) (1.5 CLE credits). 
  • Private law issues (e.g. solar lease agreements and agricultural conservation easement drafting) (1.5 CLE credits).
  • Policy discussion on emerging issues at the intersection of renewable energy and agriculture.

About Us

About the Food Law Initiative The Food Law Initiative

The Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative (FLI) addresses the unmet legal service needs of farmers, food and beverage entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations seeking to improve our food system. To implement innovative practices, these ‘food revolutionaries’ must navigate a complicated legal landscape governing all aspects of their work from land management to food labeling to legal entity structuring. Access to legal services is vital to empower this transition to a more just and sustainable food system. FLI offers direct legal services through its Food & Beverage Law Clinic, provides trainings on key food law issues to food and farm businesses, and educates the next generation of food system lawyers. Founded in 2015, FLI is a partnership between the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University (Pace Law) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Pace FLI Logo

 

The Initiative has developed a variety of educational programming focused on concrete legal issues arising in the work of food justice organizations, farmers, and food entrepreneurs. The Initiative’s programs include an externship program, placing a Pace student with the NRDC’s regional food team and an annual lecture series focusing on critical food law topics. 

Learn more about NRDC's Regional Food work

2017 HighlightsNRDC

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Who We Are

Faculty Director FLI Staff

Professor Margot Pollans, Faculty Director and Assistant Professor of Law. Her work focuses on identifying regulatory strategies for reducing the environmental externalities of the food system, and she is coauthoring a Food Law casebook.

Director, Transactional Food and Beverage Law Clinic

Jonathan Brown joined the team as the Director of the Transactional Food and Beverage Law Clinic in October 2016. He was most recently a clinical lecturer in law at Yale Law School, and prior to that an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, in New York. He received his B.A from the University of Pennsylvania, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.      

NRDC Partners NRDC Logo

Mark Izeman is the New York Regional Director and a Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  Over his 30-year career, he has spearheaded numerous environmental campaigns, litigation efforts, and strategic initiatives on regional food, fossil fuels, recycling, drinking water and other issues.

Jennifer Grossman is a senior legal advisor at NRDC, with twenty-five years of strategic environmental legal work in the public, not-for­ profit and private sectors, focusing now on food law, forging collaborative platforms between rural and urban communities, and supporting the economic viability of local agriculture through policy and programming.   

Margaret Brown is a staff attorney in the New York Program at NRDC, where she advocates for more just and sustainable food systems in New York and other regions around the country. 

                                                     

Affiliated Faculty Elisabeth Haub Environmental Law Logo Pace

Smita Narula, Haub Distinguished Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies. She has written extensively on the right to food and on the political economy of our food system.  From 2008 to 2014, she served as legal advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Her current research focuses on the environmental impacts of the industrial food chain and on developments in international law to advance food sovereignty and protect peasants’ rights.

Jason Czarnezki, Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law and Associate Dean & Executive Director of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. His research focuses on food eco-labeling and life-cycle analysis, green public procurement, and global food security.  He is also an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, where he is part of a research team modeling global food systems and supply chains.

David Cassuto, Professor of Law and Director of the Brazil-American Institute for Law and Environment.  He has written extensively about food law with a particular emphasis on the environmental and ethical implications of factory farming.  

Melanie Dupuis, Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies and Science, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University. Her research focuses on sustainable governance, political agroecology, and the politics of foods.  Her most recent book is Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice.

Barbara Atwell is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  She writes and teaches in the areas of public health and bioethics and has written several articles on public health measures related to obesity and sugar regulation.

News, Press & Publications

Things by us

Press releases

Press coverage

Recent Faculty Publications:
Jonathan H. Brown

  • Nurturing a More Just and Sustainable Food System: The First Year of Pace Law’s Food and Beverage Law Clinic, Natural Resources & Environment (quarterly publication of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources) (July 2018)
  • Beyond Corporate Form; A Response to Dan DePasquale’s, Surbhi Sarang’s and Natalie Vena’s Forging Food Justice through Cooperatives in New York City, Fordham Urb. L.J. (June 2018).

Margot J.  Pollans

  • The New Food Safety, Cal.  L. Rev. forthcoming August 2019 (with Emily Broad Leib).
  • Food Law and Policy: Cases and Materials (Wolters Kluwer Forthcoming September 2018) (with Jacob Gersen & Michael Roberts).
  • Food Systems, Climate Change and Public Health Law (Cambridge University Press) (June 2018).
  • Ecolabeling, Oxford Handbook on Comparative Environmental Law (forthcoming 2018) (with Jason Czarnezki & Sarah Main).

Jason J.  Czarnezki, Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Environmental Law Programs 

  • Ecolabeling, Oxford Handbook on Comparative Environmental Law (forthcoming 2018) (with Margot Pollans & Sarah Main).

Smita Narula, Haub Distinguished Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies

  • “An Alternative to Industrial Agriculture,” Frankfurter Rundschau, Nov. 19, 2018 (with Hilal Elver and Marc Edelman) (published in German).

 

Events

Upcoming Events

  • November 6, 2019: The Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative is hosting a CLE Program on The Law At The Intersection Of Renewable Energy And Agriculture, at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.
  • December 9, 2019: office hours: Join the National Young Farmers Coalition and Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative for an "office hours" event, where we will pair you up with attorneys for clinic-style meetings about any legal issue related to accessing farmland, starting a farm business, or transitioning farmland to a new generation. This event is free for farmers.

2019 Events

2018 Events

2017 Events

  • On February 13, 2017, Professor Margot Pollans and Kathleen Merrigan spoke to a passionate crowd at Grow NYC's Project Farmhouse on the future of food law. The event was a resounding success. Watch the conversation here.
  • On March 4, 2017, Professor  Margot Pollans interviewed Representative Sean Patrick Maloney about the Farm Bill at Bedford 2020 Food Forum in Mount Kisco, New York.
  • In March 2017, Jennifer Grossman spoke at E2 New York chapter’s “Farming for the Future” event on AeroFarms, a Newark-based, high tech vertical indoor farming operation. 
  • On April 20, 2017, Professor  Margot Pollans presented on a panel with Ellen J. Fried (NYU Department of Nutrition and Food Studies) and Michael R. Reese (Reese, LLP) at The Future of Food Law hosted by the Cardozo Environmental Law Society.
  • In May 2017,  Jennifer Grossman and Professor  Jonathan Brown presented at the third National Farm Viability Conference, in Albany NY.  
  • On May 17, 2017, Pace Law hosted Serve it Up Safely - Legal Issues for Food Service Companies, a workshop to discuss food safety, food marketing, and food-specific liability issues.
  • On Sept. 28, 2017, Professor  Margot Pollans presented Understanding the Farm Bill, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture.
  •  In September 2017, Jennifer Grossman and Professor  Jonathan Brown presented an overview of the Food Law Initiative at the Ulster County, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Hudson Valley Farmlink event coordinated by American Farmland Trust. 
  • On December 6-8, 2017, Jennifer Grossman and Professor Jonathan Brown presented at the 10th annual Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Young Farmers Conference.
  • On December 1, 2017, Jennifer Grossman and Professor  Jonathan Brown presented an overview of the Food Law Initiative at the 2017 Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program, in Poughkeepsie, NY. 

2016 Events

  • On January 27, 2016, students, attorneys, and others interested in the emerging field of food law gathered at the NRDC Offices in New York for a lecture inaugurating the Initiative. The lecture featured Professor Margot Pollans and Staff Attorney Margaret Brown (NRDC) and was moderated by Professor Jason J. Czarnezki. View video and pictures from the event. 
  • Law Clinic for Farm, Factory, and Office at the Food & Enterprise Summit, April 2016. 
  • On September 30, 2016, Professor Jonathan Brown and Professor Margot Pollans were invited to speak about FLI and food and beverage law issues at the Yale Food Systems Symposium.
  • Visiting Lecture by Paul Greenberg, Haub Environmental Author in Residence.
  • In December 2016, Professor  Jonathan Brown presented at GrowNYC Farm Beginnings Legal Training Class. 
  • On December 7-9, 2016, Professor  Margot Pollans, Jennifer Grossman and Professor Jonathan Brown presented at the annual Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Young Farmers Conference.

2015 Events 

  • In Fall 2015, Jennifer Grossman presented at Food & Enterprise: Anatomy of a Deal: NYS Craft Brewers, at Industry City, Brooklyn NY. 

2014 Events

  • In Fall 2014, Jennifer Grossman presented at Food & Enterprise: Anatomy of a Deal: Food Hubs, at the Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn NY. 

Food and Beverage Law Clinic

Food and Beverage Law Clinic FBLC Student Experience

In January 2017, Pace Law launched the Food and Beverage Law Clinic with the generous support of the Sands Family Foundation and Constellation Brands. The Clinic is the first in the country entirely dedicated to providing direct, transactional legal services to food and beverage clients. Under faculty supervision, law students in the Clinic represent farmers, food and beverage entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations. The Clinic’s legal services help clients expand access to local, healthy food in underserved communities, start or expand mission-driven business ventures, steward the preservation and transitioning of farmland for future generations of farmers, and implement innovative and sustainable production, processing, and distribution practices.

FBLC SeminarThe weekly seminar component of the Clinic teaches the substantive law and legal practice skills that are most useful to students during the semester. In addition, the seminar provides an opportunity to discuss the role of law and lawyers in food systems and the practical, ethical and policy-based issues that arise in the context of lawyering on behalf of mission-oriented individuals and organizations.

Externship and Other Opportunities for Law Students

Externship and Other Opportunities for Law Students

NRDC ExternshipThe Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative offers a term-time for-credit externship placement with the NRDC’s New York team. The student will work with NRDC staff attorney on a range of food law and policy projects. Past projects have included research on soil health initiatives, local food hubs, and farm-to-school procurement.

NRDC Food Law Externship

As part of the Food Law Initiative, the Natural Resources Defense Council offers a for-credit placement to a Haub Law student in a Food Law Externship each fall and spring semester. Students earn four credits while working two days per week with the NRDC's food law team in New York City. The inaugural extern, Dr. Tyson-Lord Gray (Haub Law ’17), noted that "Because these topics are rarely addressed in standard law school classes, the Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative provides any unparalleled experience for anyone interested in food and agricultural issues.”

Application Instructions

Please submit a CV, cover letter, and writing sample to foodlawinitiatve@law.pace.edu by April 15 for a fall placement or by November 1 for a spring placement. The student selected must enroll in either Law 829, for a four-credit externship, or Law 901 for a two-credit externship. Students interested in the two-credit option should speak with Professor Margot Pollans about identifying an appropriate externship faculty supervisor.

Other Food Law Employment Opportunities

*University of Arkansas Food & Ag Law Jobs Blog

*Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic Food Law Career Guide

Interested students can contact Faculty Director Professor Margot Pollans for further information.