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Developing Food Policy:

U.S. & International Perspectives


April 16-17, 2010

We live in a world in which we produce more food than ever before and in which the hungry have never been as many. There is a reason for this: for too many years, we have focused on increasing food availability, while neglecting both the distributional impacts of our ways of producing food, and their long-term environmental impacts. 

      -- Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, November 18, 2009


Food policy implicates a broad range of pressing humanitarian, public health, and environmental challenges. These challenges include, among many others: ending hunger, promoting rural economic development, protecting the safety of the food supply, reversing the obesity and diabetes epidemics, and averting catastrophic climate change.  Addressing any and all of these challenges requires the development of healthy, sustainable, and equitable food systems.  The aim of our conference, Developing Food Policy, is to help participants bring about patterns of food production that honor the universal right to food, the health and well-being of communities, and the preciousness of natural resources.  The conference will bring together leading policymakers, scholars, activists, students, and farmers to discuss strategies for achieving food systems guided by those values.

Developing Food Policy will explore two distinct “tracks” for reform through two concurrently-run series of panels.  The U.S. Track will focus on interconnections among U.S. agricultural policy, public health, and the environment, while considering avenues for pushing food law in healthier and more sustainable directions.  The International Track will examine reform strategies, both on local levels and in transnational fora, aimed at ensuring food access in the developing world.  The conference keynote, issue lunches, and a concluding conversation will bring these two “tracks” together to reflect on common themes, such as the impact of technological innovation and the importance of a systemic approach to reform.

This conference is hosted by the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal and the Community Economic Development Clinic.