Journal of Food Law & Policy

Vol. 13, No. 1


A Call to Action: The New Academy of Food Law & Policy

Emily M. Broad Leib and Susan A. Schneider

The food system is affected by unique and complex laws. These laws call for a new generation of legal practitioners and scholars. This essay announces the creation of the Academy of Food Law and Policy. The Academy creates a network of law professors researching, teaching, and mentoring in food law and policy.


Myth Making in the Heartland: Did Agriculture Elect the New President?

Neil D. Hamilton

This essay addresses the role of America’s farmers in electing President Donald Trump. This role may not have been as large as the agricultural community and others have suggested. Additionally, this essay cautions the agricultural community against taking too much credit for the election of a politician and party whose interests are often at odds with agricultural interests.


The Butz Stops Here: Why the Food Movement Needs to Rethink Agricultural History

Nathan A. Rosenberg and Bryce Wilson Stucki

From the 1890s to the 1930s, rural Americans played a vital role in radical leftist politics. While specialists know this history well, the public tends to know a folk history, written by figures associated with contemporary food movements. This folk history rests on several key myths, which cover different periods of modern history from the New Deal to the present. This essay challenges these myths to reveal the causes and extent of the suffering endured by rural families in the 20th century, which in turn, decimated the populist left. A reconsideration of the history of agricultural policy will help food-system reformers develop a more radical and effective vision for rural America.


Food and More: Expanding the Movement for the Trump Era

Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Olivier De Schutter, and Ricardo Salvador

How can the food movement best navigate this treacherous new environment? Two years ago, we outlined the need for a national food policy, a critical yardstick in determining whether legislation helps or harms farmers, eaters, the land, animals, and more. This remains an important long-term goal, but right now the most pressing work is to join forces with other progressive groups in a more immediate cause: protecting the disadvantaged and defending democracy. From CivilEats


After the White House Garden: Food Justice in the Age of Trump

Garrett M. Broad

It’s debatable whether President and First Lady Obama’s White House garden was a positive or negative symbol to the community food justice movement—but it did send a signal. This essay speculates what, if anything, the Trump administration will signal to these community food justice activists. It also recommends a potential strategy for grassroots food justice advocates fighting for already limited resources.


Food Justice in the Trump Age: Priorities for Urban Food Advocates

Nevin Cohen, Janet Poppendieck, and Nicholas Freudenberg

This essay outlines priorities for food advocates following the election of President Donald Trump. Specifically, this essay advocates for: 1. preservation of SNAP, 2. prevention of industry deregulation, and 3. sustainment of regional food systems. In its analysis, this essay examines each of the potential conservative-back counter proposals for these priorities.


Fomenting Democracy: The Case for Federal-Local Cooperation

Marilyn Sinkewicz, Jess Gilbert, and Calvin Head

This essay profiles a program in a rural, black Mississippi community called Youth-in-Agriculture. This case study of Mileston, Mississippi depicts the collaborative efforts of the federal government and community organizations through nearly a century. This essay also describes the ways in which the Trump administration could most support agricultural communities like Mileston, MS.


Possibilities for Farm Policy in a Trump Era

Stephen Carpenter and Kirsten Valentine Cadieux

This essay addresses options for the Trump administration in promoting a modern, sustainable, and inclusive agricultural system. This essay considers what might be achieved while the Trump administration stays committed to its goals, espoused throughout the Trump campaign. The particularly relevant goals affecting the administration’s agricultural policy are shrinking government, decreasing the number of illegal immigrants, and renegotiating free trade.


Antitrust in Food and Farming Under President Trump

Leah Douglas

Corporate powers are proposing mega mergers in almost every sector of agriculture. This essay explores how President Trump can keep his campaign promises to protect rural voters by strengthening the weakening enforcement of antitrust doctrines; specifically through the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) and reinstating the Country of Origin Labeling (CoOL) of meat products.


Will the Trump Administration Support Farmers Facing FSMA Compliance?

Sophia Kruszewski

In keeping with Donald Trump’s campaign promises of cutting burdensome regulations, this essay recommends two Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations that should be removed or altered. The two regulations are for irrigation water quality standards and third-party audits. This essay argues that these regulations are unnecessary in keeping with the goals of FSMA and are burdensome for farmers of all scales, but especially small and very small scale farmers.


Farming and Eating

Margot Pollans

There has long been tension between rural and urban communities, often referred to as the urban-rural divide. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has exacerbated this divide. However, urban and rural groups rely on each other; farmers need eaters in densely populated areas for markets and eaters need farmers for food. In recognition of this codependency, this essay proposes a coalition of farmers, food consumers, and environmentalists to lead agricultural policy and stop the divide between farming and eating.


Eating Is Not Political Action

Joshua Galperin, Graham Downey, and Lee Miller

To create policy at the interface of the centrally important and overlapping American ideals of agriculture and the environment, there are two options. Passive governance fosters markets in which participants make individual choices that aggregate into inadvertent collective action. In contrast, assertive governance allows the public, mediated through elected officials, to enact intentional, goal-oriented policy. This essay contends that the latter option, assertive governance, is the only appropriate means of creating harmony between agriculture and the environment it depends upon.


Organic Agriculture under the Trump Administration

Marne Coit

This essay will examine the implications of the policies of the upcoming Trump administration on the integrity of the National Organic Program (NOP), the regulations promulgated under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). Advocates fears of weakening organic standards are likely to become reality under the Trump administration. Support for organic may be dependent on high returns for large agricultural producers. However, there is a negative correlation between larger agri-businesses entering the organic market and the erosion of the organic standards. The Trump administration will likely continue down the path of supporting larger agribusinesses—to the detriment of not only smaller, more sustainable farms and businesses, but possibly to the organic regulations themselves.


Implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

Lesley K. McAllister

In July 2016, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law was passed to establish a mandatory national system for disclosing the presence of genetically-engineered material in food (GMOs). The federal law preempts state and local initiatives to create labeling systems. This essay first analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of having a national GMO law rather than a patchwork of state laws. Then it provides commentary on how the USDA can create an effective and accessible labeling system, using scannable Quick Response (QR) codes.. The essay envisions a retail food system in which all consumers can easily and usefully obtain reliable information about GMO content and potentially other food characteristics.


Trump’s New Trade Policy: Risks for North American Food and Farms

Karen Hansen Kuhn

In his presidential campaign, Trump promised to build a “great, great wall”, and he promised to renegotiate the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), leaving open the possibility of pulling out entirely. There are many concerns with NAFTA as it currently exists and there are many areas in which renegotiation would be welcome. This essay argues, however, the Trump administration’s loyalties to big business could hinder positive change. If NAFTA is significantly renegotiated, it should be with farmer and consumer interests in mind, not those of multinational corporations.


Food Labor and the Trump Administration: A Grim Prognosis

Erik Loomis

Farm laborers made few gains under the Obama administration; however, food workers received some benefit under the Obama’s Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez. Unfortunately, any gains for food workers will likely be rolled back under the Trump administration through both his cabinet appointments and judicial appointments. This essay predicts a strengthening of “ag-gag” bills and a weakening of Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA). President Trump’s attacks on immigration and regulations also signal fewer workers’ rights in the fields and less accountability of exploitative employers.


An Interview with Outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: Reflections on His Legacy & Challenges Facing a New Era in American Agriculture Policy

Lauren Manning

In a special interview with Lauren Manning, former Secretary of Agricultural Tom Vilsack reflects on his eight-year tenure at the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Sec. Vilsack discusses such issues as the farm bill, opportunities for beginning and disadvantaged farmers, and trade. In addition to recounting the successes of the Obama administration’s USDA, Sec. Vilsack explains his hopes for the incoming Secretary of Agriculture and the Trump administration.


Farmers Market Rules and Policies: Content and Design Suggestions (From a Lawyer)

Jay A. Mitchell

Farmers market rules and policies can set out what products can be sold, how vendors are selected, what’s expected of vendors from growing practices to signage to paperwork, and how vendors are disciplined or removed from the market. Rules and policies can do even more, adding to their length and complexity. The landscape gets even more complex when the rules are accompanied by separate vendor applications, hold-harmless agreements, membership materials, and the market has a website providing additional information. All this can put a quite a reading burden on vendors and quite a management burden on the market. This article is about ways to both maximize the value to a market of its rules and minimize the load on the user.


ALDF v. Otter: What Does It Mean for Other State's Ag-Gag Laws?

Jacob Coleman

Across the nation, states have enacted “Ag-gag” laws that criminalize various types of investigations into animal cruelty and worker abuses in the chain of animal agriculture. This article divides the types of “ag-gag” statutes into four waves with varying degrees of protection for farmers and corporations engaged in animal agriculture. Next, this article analyzes Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter, in which an Idaho judge struck down an “ag-gag” statute, and applies its holding to the various waves of “ag-gag” statutes.