This article was originally written and published by Vermont Law School on September 16, 2020.
Originally hailing from Uganda, Esther Akwii LLM’20 worked with smallholder farmers and held a position at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, before coming to Vermont Law School to earn an LLM in Food and Agricultural Law.
As an LLM Fellow at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS), she helped to pilot a range of CAFS projects in partnership with organizations across the U.S. She wrote a background paper on rural development for the Farm Bill Law Enterprise; developed legal memos on farm business structures, agritourism, food safety and labor for Farm Commons; created a brief on rural food access for the Healthy Food Policy Project; and worked on a handbook about policies that promote farm to school programs for the National Farm to School Network. She also taught Law and Policy of Local Food Systems, a course at VLS.
Akwii applied the knowledge she’d gained through that work by presenting at conferences across the country. “I enjoyed learning and hearing perspectives from farmers or people with lived experiences about food system issues such as access to healthy food,” she said, “and also sharing the work I was undertaking at CAFS and learning from other scholars in the field.”
Now Akwii will be joining some of those scholars in her new position as a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic. CAFS partners with the Harvard clinic on several projects, including the Blueprint for a National Food Strategy and the Farm Bill Law Enterprise. Akwii will continue to shape those projects in her new position—as well as the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas—and the CAFS team is thrilled that they will still have a chance to work with her.
“I enjoyed learning and hearing perspectives from farmers or people with lived experiences about food system issues such as access to healthy food.”
— Esther Akwii LLM’20
“Esther is one of the hardest working people I know, excelling in her classes and taking on more work than seemed humanly possible,” said CAFS Director Laurie Beyranevand. “All the while she brought a lot of sunshine into otherwise gloomy Vermont winters and a positivity unmatched by most. While we are reluctant to see her go, we take some solace in knowing she’ll be just a short drive away.”