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Food law workshop pairs emerging and senior scholars
Thirteen food law scholars and policy experts gathered at the Schulich School of Law on May 22–23 for an intensive food law paper workshop. The event provided an opportunity for emerging scholars to present their work, engage others in small groups, and gain feedback from senior scholars in the field.
The senior scholars were Schulich Law Professors Sara Seck and Lucie Guibault, Professor Bita Amani (Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law), Professor Lucie Lamarche (Université du Québec à Montréal’s Faculty of Law), Professor Elizabeth Fitting (Dalhousie’s Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology) and Don Buckingham (CEO, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute).
“One of the objectives of the workshop was to bring experts in food law and policy into conversation with one another and to build relationships among scholars working on food,” says Schulich Fellow Sarah Berger Richardson. She organized the workshop with Schulich Law Professor Jamie Baxter, with the generous support of Dean Camille Cameron and the Schulich School of Law.
One of the objectives was to bring experts in food law and policy into conversation and to build relationships among scholars working on food. — Sarah Berger Richardson
Six papers were circulated and presented for discussion in English and French. Each presenter was paired with a senior scholar who served as a primary commentator on the paper. The topics ranged from domestic and international discussions of food security and food sovereignty, to critical perspectives on emerging food technologies, to individual rights to particular foods and legal obligations, to respect for personal dietary preferences.
Sparking discussion and debate
The workshop began with a presentation by Angela Lee, a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, which advanced a vision for “technology justice” in Canada using the agri-food sector as a specific area of study. Berger Richardson then presented a working paper on the perceived conflict between international human rights law and international investment law in the context of large-scale land acquisitions.
The two afternoon presentations focused on the topic of food sovereignty and its legal and normative function. First, Nadia Lambek, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, presented a chapter from her doctoral research.
Continuing on the theme of food sovereignty, Jessica Dufresne, a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, considered how municipalities can take an active role in implementing policies that support the realization of every individual’s right to food.
Exploring vegan food options
Professor Patricia Galvao-Ferreira of the University of Windsor opened the second day with an introduction to the emerging industry of entomophagy (the practice of eating insects by humans) in Canada. As insect protein makes its way onto supermarket shelves, Galvao-Ferreira set out her initial research questions for a study into the regulation of edible insects in Canada.
Finally, Sabrina Tremblay-Huet, a doctoral candidate at Université Sherbrooke, presented a paper on whether patients, staff, and visitors in Quebec hospitals have a right to vegan options within these institutions.
“Our senior scholars were generous in their feedback, engaging critically with the material—both the papers and the oral presentations—and providing thoughtful suggestions for their improvement,” says Berger Richardson.
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