1. Tell us a little about yourself and the educational or career path you took to get to where you are now?
As a senior in college I started a research project on holistic thinking and systems theory. I convinced all my professors to let me tie my assignments into that theme and I got to be a little obsessed. Whenever I would get stuck, and need some inspiration, I would go volunteer on a farm started by friends. All my best ideas came to me there, while weeding and harvesting. I met several people with legal questions related to their farms and food businesses, and I thought, ‘I bet I could help them if I went to law school.’
I heard about a new Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, applied to Vermont Law School, and spent my three years there focused on food systems and agriculture. Afterwards, the LL.M. program in Agriculture and Food Law at the University of Arkansas offered me a full ride and a paid position through which I was glad to learn about another part of the country. In March, I joined the Agrarian Trust as a legal fellow coordinating the Agrarian Lawyers’ Network. I returned to Vermont after the LL.M. program in-person component, and opened a solo law practice for farmers and food businesses, with an environmental sustainability angle.
2. What specifically drew you to working with social enterprises and democratically-led organizations, such as cooperatives?
Egalitarian organizations tend to bring forth the best solutions, since they are as Donella Meadows said, designed around the principle of feedback. For an equitable world, we need equitable organizations, and people who are empowered to participate. Studying the food system, I find that the cooperative model tends to have the best outcome for workers, communities and natural systems.
3. What do you find to be the most challenging about being a lawyer [or law student, legal apprentice, or other legal...Continue Reading