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Sustainability Fellow's Work on Food Law at Harvard

Date Released: 26 August 2016

During the summer of 2016, Office for Sustainability Graduate Student Fellow, Erika Dunyak, worked with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) housed within the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. This legal clinic is dedicated to legal and policy work that creates a more inclusive and equitable food system. FLPC advances these goals through its four initiatives: Food Policy and Community Empowerment, Food Access and Obesity Prevention, Food Waste, and Sustainable Food Production.

Erika’s work was primarily in the Food Policy and Community Empowerment Initiative, which includes working with local, state, and tribal food policy councils to achieve progressive food policy goals. Specifically, Erika worked with a municipal food policy council on a report of the school districts existing practices and areas for improvement within school food. This included research into the Community Eligibility Provision, which provides cost-free food to all students within a school or district regardless of income; restrictions on competitive food, which includes all food that is not eligible for federal school lunch reimbursements (a la carte, vending machine, fundraiser, and snack foods); access to meals outside of traditional school hours; and many other areas.

In addition to this school food overhaul, Erika contributed to several other projects. One included collaborating with another municipal food policy council. On this project, Erika research best practices from across the country regarding state incentives for Urban Agriculture. Erika also worked within the Sustainable Food Production Initiative by collaborating with for-profit partners on the labeling requirements of cultured meat and plant-based meat alternatives.


Finally, throughout the Summer and ongoing until October, Erika is helping to organize a law student conference, the Food Law Student Leadership Summit, in Des Moines, IA. Law students who are interested in applying to the Summit can find more information on the Food Law Student Network’s Website.