About the Food Law & Policy Clinic
The Food Law and Policy Clinic of Harvard Law School (FLPC) provides students with the opportunity to practice using legal and policy tools in order to address the health, environmental, and economic impacts of our food system. FLPC utilizes substantive expertise in food law and policy and a robust policy skill set to assist clients and communities in understanding and improving the laws impacting the food system.
Students enrolled in the clinic get hands-on learning experience conducting legal and policy research for individuals, communities, and governments on a wide range of food law and policy issues. Students have the opportunity to: comment on major federal regulations, such as the Food and Drug Administration rules impacting food safety on the farm; identify and promote creative policies to reduce the 40% of food that goes to waste in the U.S.; train and empower food policy councils and other community coalitions to achieve their food system goals; and research and recommend policies increasing access to healthy food at all levels of government.
Students develop a variety of transferable skills in areas such as research, writing, creative problem-solving, project management, oral communication, and leadership. In particular, students will have the opportunity to draft memoranda, white papers, and regulatory comments; conduct statutory interpretation; compose legislation and regulations; petition for agency rulemaking or enforcement actions; conduct interviews and fact-finding; and prepare and train communities about civic engagement, the food system, and policy change. Clinic clients are located around the United States, and some students will have the opportunity to travel.
Semesters offered: Fall, Spring
Credits: The Clinic accepts students registered for 2, 3, or 4 credits for the semester.
Placement Site: Students work in FLPC’s office located at 1607 Massachusetts Ave, next to Wasserstein Hall on the Harvard Law School campus.
Required Class Component: Students enrolled in the Clinic must also enroll in the Food Law and Policy Seminar.
Harvard Law School is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in the life of the University. Students requesting accessibility resources or accommodations in any of HLS’s Clinical and Pro Bono Programs may work with Accessibility Services in the Dean of Students Office. If you are a student with a documented disability and you are requesting accommodations, please contact HLS Accessibility Services to discuss and register for accommodations.
About the Food Law & Policy Seminar
This seminar will present an overview of topics in food law and policy, and will examine how these laws shape what we eat. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to a range of issues impacting the food system from farm to fork to landfill. In the past few years, major news stories have covered the U.S. farm bill, labeling of genetically engineered food products, soda taxes, efforts to regulate school meals, and the misleading and unregulated terrain of expiration dates.
In order to better understand these issues and some of their root causes, we will examine food policy via the diverse lenses of farmers, consumers, and corporations, as well as using diverse disciplinary perspectives. Each class will begin with ensuring a shared understanding of the relevant sources of law before delving into policy considerations and discussions of what the law could and should. We will concentrate on food law in the United States, but will also include comparative global perspectives when helpful.
The seminar is open to any student interested in food and agricultural policy and its implications on health and the environment, and no background or prerequisites are required. Rather than an examination, students will be required to submit short discussion posts via the online course discussion board; prepare for and participate in in-class role play debates; and write a policy paper that explains a food law problem and recommends a policy change intended to improve the health, nutrition, or environmental outcomes. Grades will be determined on the basis of these written submissions, in-class role plays, and class participation.
Enrollment in the seminar is limited to 22 students and it is open to LLM students by permission.
Semesters offered: Fall and Spring
About the Policy Advocacy Workshop
The Policy Advocacy Workshop is a hands-on seminar that explores the methods, tools, and skills used to conduct legislative and regulatory advocacy. Students learn about the process of issue spotting policy opportunities, developing policy advocacy campaigns, drafting legislation and regulations, and using written and oral advocacy to push for policy change. Students learn how to effectuate policy reforms that could have real world application by drafting written materials and presenting oral advocacy to demonstrate an implementation strategy for a range of policy reform ideas.
Semesters offered: Spring