Sampling Careers in Food Law

This past month we had the privilege of hosting two great Food Law Speakers, Antonio Gallegos of Greenberg Traurig and Alex Funk of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) for a lunch time food talk panel. While each of these speakers were from very different spectrums of Food Law, they both had a lot to say about the current issues plaguing them in this new Presidential Administration as well as insights into their current jobs.

gallegosaAntonio Gallegos does work in “regulatory compliance, litigation and dispute resolution for the food, nutrition and medical consumer products industries.” This is one of the most common forms of Food Law work. Antonio described his daily work as being mainly talking with clients on the phone, via email or in person giving regulatory advice.

alex-funk-bio-2Alex Funk “represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success.” Alex connects with young farmers all over the western states of the United States representing their interests to the NYFC’s national platform. Alex described his daily work as traveling and connecting with farmers around their policy worries while engaging in regional policy negotiations.

The panel engaged with students giving them advice and suggestions on breaking into the food law sector of law before ending the talk with their favorite restaurants. Overall it was a solid panel with inquisitive participants. Make sure you don’t miss the next lunch talk and check out the links above to see what work you could do in the future!

If you want more information on what food law is, make sure to follow us on Facebook or attend lunch panel talks!

Dining Contract at DU

This past fall the DUFLS became involved in the University of Denver’s contract renewal with Sodexo, the University’s food provider for University dining halls and cafes. We had one giant concern in petitioning DU with this contract: making sure the student body’s voice was heard.

Check out the original petition here: The University of Denver’s Big Food Secret

With 111 supporters signing the petition (both students and parents), the DUFLS and the student body have made some progress towards making sure student voices are heard by DU’s Administration. Tyler Nemkov, DUFLS President, gave us this update:

 

Concerning the situation with the DU administration and the dining services contract with Sodexo (summarized here), the DU Food Law Society is working to get a seat at the table with the administration on the renegotiation process. The parts are still in flux, but here is what we know so far:
1. Sodexo has agreed to draft formal amendments regarding sustainability and food quality goals
2. The administration will be more directly seeking data on the food program from students
3. The contract will be signed at the earliest in April of this year
4. The administration is still considering vetting other options, but are not sure where they stand on their requirements due to job turnover in the administration

This is not necessarily where we want to be thus far, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction. Please reach out if you would like more information on this.

We will keep you updated as this contract progresses. For more information on how you can get involved, or for updates as they come make sure to check out our Facebook page, or contact us by email: dufoodlaw@gmail.com

Growing Gardens and Helping Others

During the 2016 Fall Semester, the DU Food Law Society (DUFLS) volunteered at both Growing Gardens and the Delores Project. At both events we were given the chance to interact with food in two very unique ways.

Growing Gardens

img_9887

Growing Gardens, located in Boulder, CO, is a non-profit organization focusing on the helping people reconnect with the food they eat, the land that grows their food, and the community around them.  Through gardening classes, community garden plots, and a children’s garden, this organization gives people from all over the Boulder area an education on food by allowing them to get their hands dirty and do some hard-work.

Our Mission

To enrich the lives of our community through sustainable urban agriculture.

Our Vision

People experiencing a direct and deep connection with food, the land and each other.

dmrv8684DUFLS alongside the food law society at CU-Boulder ventured out to Growing Gardens to help get a few different garden plots ready for winter. We had the opportunity to spread some winter crop seeds, pull out irrigation lines and ground covering, and pull some dying tomato and pepper plants. We dug in and worked hard! Getting your hands dirty and interacting with the land leaves a mark on the soul. It is rare that people have the opportunity to actually see where their food is grown, nevertheless, actually do the work involved in growing it. Being given the chance to pull dead plants and sow seeds in empty plots, let us learn to appreciate the food we consume a little more and the hands that make it possible for millions of Americans to eat each year. At the end of our event we took some time to sit with a staff member and talk about the issues plaguing organizations like this one. From water rights to business practices, urban agriculture faces a lot of animosity from local governments and communities. Organizations like Growing Gardens flourish when the local community members get involved. So we urge, check this place out, go and volunteer, ask questions, and if you want to get even more involved check out their intern listings for 2017!

Growing Gardens is located at 1630 Hawthorn Ave, Boulder, CO 80304.

The Delores Project

tnsx1482

While our first event of the year allowed us to see how food is grown and cultivated, our second event allowed us to do some cooking. Tyler, DUFLS President, invited over a group of students (and any of their family members) to his house to help cook enchiladas for some women and transgender individuals staying at The Delores Project. 

The Delores Project provides safe, comfortable shelter and personalized services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness. We also work to end homelessness by advocating for housing solutions.

Every part of the menu was made from scratch. We hand shredded chicken, cooked and blended tomatoes for sauce, and rolled trays and trays of enchiladas. After making tons of food, we headed to the shelter and served up a great dinner to some very thankful people. Food is one of the most important parts of community, and being able to make and serve a meal to others creates a bond more meaningful than any conversation or other experience. People all around the world make sitting down at a dinner table the most important part of their day, and being able to take part in carving out that small moment of the day for these women/ transgender individuals was an inspirational moment for our group.

And that was our fall semester, and if you didn’t have a chance to volunteer at any of these events, don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer this semester and attend some great Food Law related panels. We hope to see you in 2017!

Boulder’s Got Our Goats

The DU Food Law Society had its first organization outing last Saturday, April 9, and it was quite the kick off for the group!  Saturday’s activities began with a visit to the Mountain Flower Goat Dairy in Boulder, Colorado.

The dairy is a picturesque little agricultural oasis in the middle of Boulder that greets you with the fresh smell of straw and mountain air.  The location is also home to Long’s Iris Gardens, an added bonus in June when the gorgeous flowers begin blooming, painting the open space with brilliant colors. The influence of agriculture on the residents in the area is also apparent by the inclusion of a community garden.  Overall the space reminds those that visit of a peaceful existence among nature.

The visit began with a milking demonstration which allowed all of those visiting to get an idea of the efforts made to preserve quality and care of both animal and product.  After the milking demonstration, visitors were led on a guided tour of the facility by its Executive Director and Co-Founder, Taber Ward.  Taber is a passionate food activist who has combined her experience in goat husbandry and her law degree to use the dairy to provide milk share programs and educational opportunities for the community.  The tour included a look at the pasture areas on the grounds, the milking areas, and a visit to the Longs for a look at their Iris Garden operations.

img_1828
Dennis Gates explains the history of Long’s Iris Gardens.

After our walk through the history of Boulder and the Long family’s place in that history, we visited the “Flower House” where the production of the milk for the dairy occurs.  There, we met Michael Montgomery, the Farm Director and an experienced chef who creates products and recipes for the milk produced at Mountain Flower, as well as teaches classes on fermentation and cheese making.  The Food Law Society was able to talk a little shop with both Taber and Michael and learn a little bit more about the legal rules surrounding the production of dairy products and the maintenance of a dairy farm in an urban area.

The visit to Mountain Flower concluded with a chance to visit the stars of the dairy, the goats themselves.  The Food Law Society got the chance to meet this years new kids, an adorable bumbling group of baby goats, easily one of the highlights of any visit, as well as the hard working momma goats.

Following our time at Mountain Flower, the Food Law Society made a trip to downtown Boulder, where we made a stop at Cured.  We got the treat of a cheese and cured meat tasting, hosted by owner and operator Will Frischkorn.  Cured is a wonderfully unique experience, specializing in artisan products produced in the United States.  We can say from experience, it is far worth the trip to get to try just a few of these products, and we highly recommend taking the time to stop by and get a sandwich or meat & cheese plate.

img_1834
Will Frischkorn explaining the practice and passion behind American cheese-making.

Saturday was an amazing day full of fun.  The Food Law Society was able to experience food law in action in our own backyard.  Days like this get everyone excited for the next outing, and we hope to see you there!