The Food Law and Policy Clinic (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. Clinic projects aim to increase access to healthy foods, support sustainable and equitable food production, reduce waste of healthy, wholesome food, and promote community-led food system change.
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. For example, students have the opportunity to: comment on major federal regulations, such as the Department of Agriculture rules impacting access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; identify and promote creative policies to reduce the 33% of the global food supply that currently goes to waste; work with food producers and other groups to recommend agricultural program reforms that better steward our natural resources; and support community-based organizations in leveraging policy changes to promote racial equity in the food system.
Students develop a variety of transferable skills in areas such as research, writing, creative problem-solving, project management, oral communication, and leadership. Specifically, students have opportunities to draft memoranda, white papers, and regulatory comments; conduct statutory interpretation; review and draft 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.
Students in the fall Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) enroll in the fall Food Law & Policy seminar, while students in the spring FLPC enroll in either the spring Food Law & Policy seminar or the spring Policy Advocacy Workshop.
How to Register
FLPC is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical registration process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.
Meet the Instructors
Emily Broad Leib
Faculty Director; Clinical Professor of Law
Emily Broad Leib is a Clinical Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, the nation’s first law school clinic devoted to providing legal and policy solutions to the health, economic, and environmental challenges facing our food system. She is also Deputy Director of Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. Working directly with clients and communities, Broad Leib champions community-led food system change, reduction in food waste, food security and access to healthy foods, and equity and sustainability in food production. Broad Leib founded the Academy of Food Law and Policy, a network of law professors researching, teaching, and mentoring on food law and policy, and served as Founding Co-Chair of the Academy of Food Law and Policy’s Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2019. Broad Leib is also the faculty supervisor for the Harvard Food Law Society and Harvard Mississippi Delta Project. Before joining Harvard Law School’s faculty, Broad Leib spent two years in Clarksdale, Mississippi as the Joint Harvard Law School/Mississippi State University Delta Fellow. She served as the Director of the Delta Directions Consortium, a group of university and foundation leaders dedicated to improving public health and fostering economic development in the Delta. Broad Leib received her B.A. from Columbia University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude.
Molly Cohen (she/her/hers) joined the Food Law and Policy Clinic in January 2022 as a clinical instructor. Prior to joining FLPC, Molly worked in local government for eight years focusing on economic development, financial empowerment and criminal justice reform. Most recently Molly led policy and communications for the San Francisco Treasurer’s Office tackling issues such as COVID-19 relief for small businesses and individuals, guaranteed income and cash transfer programs, and public banking. She also coordinated pretrial and bail reform efforts for the New York City Mayor’s Office, served as legislative counsel for a New York City Council Member, and worked in the General Counsel’s Office at NYU. Molly received her B.S. in Geophysics and Science and Society from Brown University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude. She participated in FLPC as a law student for two semesters and credits the clinic and its seminar with helping her discover her love for policy and forge a career in local government. She is a licensed member of the Massachusetts and New York bar.
Trevor joined the Food Law and Policy Clinic in January 2022. Prior to joining FLPC, he worked as a Senior Policy Associate for the Organic Farming Research Foundation, advocating for policies to improve organic agriculture in the United States. Before that, he was the Deputy Director of Food Disclosure and Labeling at the United States Department of Agriculture. While there, he helped write regulations to implement the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (GMO labeling law). At USDA, he also worked on conservation programs, farm programs, farm loans, and crop insurance. Trevor received a Masters of Law (LLM) in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a Juris Doctor (JD) from Willamette University College of Law, a Masters in Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Willamette University. He is an active member of the Oregon State Bar.
Emma Scott joined the Food Law and Policy Clinic in August 2019 as a Clinical Instructor. Her work currently focuses on FLPC’s Sustainable and Equitable Food Production Initiative and the Clinic’s ongoing projects in the Mississippi Delta. Prior to joining FLPC, Emma served as a Justice Catalyst Fellow at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation in the Labor and Civil Rights Litigation Unit. At CRLAF, Emma’s practice focused on group representation of workers from immigrant communities in employment and labor litigation, with an emphasis on farmworkers and the H-2A visa program. Emma got to know FLPC as an HLS student through the Food Law and Policy Seminar, attending FLPC sponsored conferences, and serving as a Research Assistant to Prof. Emily Broad Leib. Emma received her B.S. in Social Sciences, with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Studies and International Development, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2010. She graduated from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 2016. She then served as a law clerk to the Hon. John A. Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California from September 2016 to August 2018, assuming the position and responsibilities of Senior Law Clerk in her second year. She is a licensed member of the California Bar.
Senior Clinical Fellow
Esther Akwii joined the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic in September 2020 as a Clinical Fellow. Before joining the FLPC, Esther worked at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School, where she conducted research on wide-ranging food system topics and taught a course on the law and policy of local food systems. Esther also worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy, and has experience working with farmers on the right to food, land tenure, climate change, and natural resource governance. Esther received her Master of Laws in Food and Agriculture Law, with distinction from Vermont Law School in 2020. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre, a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree from Makerere University, and a Diploma in Law (First Class) from the Law Development Centre (UG).
Joseph Beckmann joined the Food Law and Policy Clinic in August 2020 as a Clinical Fellow. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2011, a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the Wisconsin School of Business in 2020, and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2020. Prior to joining the clinic, Joseph provided legal services to start-ups and mid-sized businesses in the food, beverage, and agriculture industries. As a Summer Law Clerk with a leading Food and Beverage-focused law firm in Wisconsin, Joseph helped draft proposed statutory revisions on policies surrounding contract manufacturing of various alcoholic beverages. As a Regulatory Affairs Specialist with a Colorado-based CBD manufacturer, Joseph provided critical legal research on the developing regulatory landscape of the cannabusiness industry. Joseph also served as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Jesse G. Reyes of the Illinois Court of Appeals. He is a licensed member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
Nathan A. Rosenberg is a visiting scholar at the Food Law and Policy Clinic and a consulting attorney for Earthjustice. Nathan has taught agricultural law and policy at the University of Iowa College of Law, the University of Arkansas School of Law, and the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He has also worked as a legal fellow for the Natural Resources Defense Council and as director of the Delta Directions Consortium.
Regan J. Plekenpol joined the Food Law and Policy Clinic in 2021 as a Program Coordinator after long-term work with the team as a graduate student research assistant. Her portfolio currently focuses on international and domestic food waste mitigation and food donation policy. She is passionate about the intersection of food systems and the environment, with a keen interest in improving access to nutritious and sustainable food sources.
Regan received her B.A. in Government (Public Policy) and Human Centered Design from Dartmouth College in 2017 and graduated with an MPH in Nutrition from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2021. She is also a NBME-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), specializing in functional integrative nutrition.
In the News
How to make better use of food banks to address hunger and inefficient food systems
This post was originally written by Emily Broad Leib and Doug O’Brien, and it was published in USA Today on September 28, 2022. As the international community gathers at the […] The post How to make better use of food banks to address hunger and inefficient food systems appeared first on Center For Health […]
September 29, 2022
New Harvard Research Takes Aim at Global Food Donation Laws and Policies to Address Food Waste, Hunger, and Climate Crisis
In advance of the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic shares policy recommendations designed to decrease food waste and […] The post New Harvard Research Takes Aim at Global Food Donation Laws and Policies to Address Food Waste, Hunger, and Climate Crisis appeared […]
September 28, 2022
Lots of Food Gets Tossed. These Apps Let You Buy It, Cheap.
Originally written by Clare Toeniskoetter and published on The New York Times on Sept. 20, 2022. Several companies say they are tackling food waste by connecting people with unsold food […] The post Lots of Food Gets Tossed. These Apps Let You Buy It, Cheap. appeared first on Center For Health Law and Policy […]
September 26, 2022
‘We need to have a coordinated vision’ for food policy
Originally written by Clea Simon and published on Harvard Law Today on Sept. 8 2022. Upcoming White House conference on food and health draws from Harvard Law food strategy blueprint […] The post ‘We need to have a coordinated vision’ for food policy appeared first on Center For Health Law and Policy Innovation […]
September 19, 2022