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Tulane Center for Environmental Law Symposium on Equitable Food Systems

The Tulane Center for Environmental Law hosted a Symposium on Equitable Food Systems on April 9, 2021 via Zoom. This symposium included three panels exploring several different issues related to the food system, described below. Recordings for the first two panels are linked below. We look forward to continuing these conversations in future events.

Have Questions? Feel free to reach out the event organizer, Samantha Pfotenhauer at her email: spfotenhauer@gmail.com


Session 1: Boat to Table – Bringing Coastal Seafood to Market  

Fishing is a major economic and cultural touchstone in Louisiana.  However, imported fish are more easily accessible and available to consumer. This panel will explore the needs of small-scale commercial fisherman to support a local and sustainable fishing economy in coastal Louisiana.  It will address difficulties connecting with retailers and generating community support and opportunities for growth and innovation in getting to market. 


Panelists: Rex Caffey (LSU SeaGrant, Director of Marine Extension Program), Rusty Gaude (LSU SeaGrant, Area Fishery Extension Agent), Lance Nacio (Anna Marie Seafood, Owner and Captain), Angelina Harrison (Crescent City Farmers Markets, Director of Markets), Robin Barnes – Moderator (Resilience Resolutions, Owner)


Session 2: Farm to ______ – Exploring Demand in Farmer’s Markets, Restaurants, and Schools 

Most of the food in the Unites States is sold to consumers by massive distributors with complex supply chains built for scale.  However, a community can improve access to the quality of food available, benefit the local economy, and support farms adopting sustainable agriculture practices by sourcing food directly from the producer, whether it be for use at home, in restaurants, or in schools. Yet the farm to table and farm to school movement requires the creation of a new supply chain.  An individual, restaurant, or school is a different type of customer than a large food distributor or supermarket chain, and therefore imposes new and different considerations related to volume, transportation, and shelf-life. To justify taking on these changes, there must be sufficient demand.


Though farmer’s markets are now ubiquitous, just a few decades ago, it was a challenge to gather enough consumer demand to justify the effort and cost.  More commonly today, restaurants source their ingredients from local farms and their clientele are willing to pay a premium for such ingredients.  In the future, we may see school’s sourcing their food from local farms.  This panel will explore how the demand on behalf of the individual, restaurants, and schools has evolved over the last few years.  The panel will also consider how demand has evolved to serve certain communities but not others, and ways that the farm to table and farm to school movements could be more inclusive.


Panelists: Dana Honn (Executive Chef & Owner at Café Carmo), Richard McCarthy (Co-founder of the Crescent City Farmers Market; Former President of Slow Food USA), Erika Rincon (Common Grounds Farm to School Coordinator), Jasmine Nielsen - Moderator (Philanthropy & Nonprofit Strategy Consultant, Professor at NYU Dept of Food Studies)


Session 3: Securing Land for Urban Farming Initiatives


One of the biggest issues in actualizing visions for urban farming and community garden organizations is maintaining consistent access to land.  Organizations cannot make the necessary investments – fiscal, time, and emotional – into developing land for urban farming when they are unsure whether they can maintain consistent occupancy of that land.  This panel will describe the issue and needs, the people and communities affected by it, and offer some insight as to solutions.


Panelists: Devon Turner (Executive Director of Grow Dat Youth Farm), Margee Green (Executive Director of Sprout Nola), Marianne Cufone (Executive Director of Recirculating Farms Coalition; Director of Environmental Law at Loyola Law School), Elisa Muñoz-Miller – Moderator (Executive Director of New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee