Food & Our Changing Climate: A Conference Integrating Science and Law

Food & Our Changing Climate: A Conference Integrating Science and Law
Friday, April 26, 2019 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

Climate change disrupts not only sea-levels and storms, but also how and where the world grows its food. While our carbon-intensive and global food network responds to a consumer demand that is no longer dictated by season, rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are transforming the world’s agricultural reality. How will the nations, states, and people respond?

Please join UConn Law’s Center for Energy & Environmental Law on April 26 for a conference devoted to the global, regional, and human impacts of climate change and food. Our discussion will span science, law, and policy with key presentations of new climate research affecting Connecticut and the globe; a keynote address by Dr. Katie Martin, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Foodshare; and panels convening legal academics, scientists, policy experts, farmers, and more.

Attendees will receive a continental breakfast, lunch, and an end-of-day networking reception featuring the famous UConn Dairy Bar ice cream. This event is free for students and the general public. The admissions fee for attorneys seeking CT CLE credit is $50.»

8:00 am - 8:45 am
Check in and Complimentary Breakfast
8:45 am - 9:00 am

Joseph MacDougald, UConn School of Law

9:00 am - 9:25 am
Keynote Presentation: Climate Change and Agriculture

Mark Urban, PhD., UConn, Dept. of Ecology of Evolutionary Biology

9:25 am - 10:45 am
Panel 1: Global Trends in Collision – Climate Change, Food Supply and Security.

Changes in transportation and information technology have globalized our food supply leading to unprecedented choice and abundance for some.  At the same time, these factors combined with climate change exacerbated variations in precipitation, drought, and human migration have increased the disruption of food supplies for the world’s most vulnerable.  This panel will discuss the substantial environmental and climate footprint of global agriculture.


Joseph MacDougald, UConn School of Law


Randy Abate, Rechnitz Family Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy, Professor, Department of Political Science and Sociology, Monmouth University

John Mandyck, CEO, Urban Green Council, New York City; Co-Author of Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Rebecca Boehm, PhD., Economist, Union of Concerned Scientists

10:45 am - 11:15 am
Keynote Presentation: How changing climate impacts local food production

Having now discussed global climatic and food supply trends, our next discussion and panel turns to the regional impacts on New England. New work from the UConn Department of Geography’s Climate Lab translates these global trends into the impacts we will see on our local region. What will happen to our moisture, our growing seasons, and our temperatures at the regional scale within Connecticut! This is an exciting piece of work being presented for the first time in a large setting.

Guiling Wang, PhD., UConn, Civil and Environmental Engineering

11:15 am - 12:30 pm
Panel 2: Climate Change Impacts on Connecticut Agriculture

Agriculture in New England is a highly-local and economically-significant industry that supports many rural communities throughout the region. As the climate continues to change, disrupting precipitation and temperature patterns in Connecticut, local agriculture will be forced to evolve to new conditions. How well the state adapts will determine who become climate winners and climate losers. The cultivation of some significant products in the region, such as maple syrup, dairy, and tree fruits, may be limited or endangered. Other products, such as wine, may be expected to benefit in the near future from warming temperatures, creating new opportunities for the region. Local producers and regulators will have to adapt to the new climate reality, whether that requires changing certain practices or changing to crops that can be grown in the new climate.


Rich Miller, Director of the Office for Environmental Policy, UConn


Joshua Galperin, University of Pittsburgh School of Law         

Bonnie Burr, UConn Agriculture Extension

Glenroy BuchananFounder, Pioneer Valley/ New England Growers Food Co-op

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Lunch including speaker remarks
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Introduction by Dean Timothy Fisher, UConn School of Law

Local food insecurity is an increasing problem throughout the U.S. In central Connecticut, Foodshare works to connect surplus food to those who struggle with hunger through a network of 300 food pantries, meal programs and Mobile Foodshare sites. Food is kept out of landfills and directed to those who need it, waste not fit for human consumption is diverted to hog production and a biomass energy generation facility.

Katie Martin, PhD., Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Foodshare

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Panel 3: Disruptive forces affecting food system workers

Farmworkers are the backbone of the food system. Despite their importance to our economy, the long legacy of agricultural exceptionalism in the United States means that farmworkers have fewer protections than other low-wage workers. Additionally, our food system's temporary immigrant workers--both documented and undocumented--face even greater challenges. This panel will address disruptive forces endured by current farmworkers, including but not exclusive of climate change.


Michael Fischl, UConn School of Law


Beth Lyon, Cornell Law School, Director of the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic 

Jennifer Rushlow, Vermont Law School, Associate Dean for Environmental Programs, Director, Environmental Law Center

Jennifer Lee, Beasley School of Law, Temple University

Pioneer Valley Workers Center

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Closing Remarks Followed by a Networking reception and Ice Cream Social
If you require reasonable accommodations for a disability, please contact the Law School at 860-570-5130 or via email at at least two weeks in advance.