H6: Legal Implications of The "Farm to Table" Movement

APA Delaware Chapter


Wednesday, October 29, 2014
10:30 a.m. - noon EDT

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

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This session will open with a discussion on the farm-to-table movement in Maryland. We will establish standards that should apply to restaurants marketed as “farm-to-table” and discuss other principles supportive of sustainable and healthy food systems in our region. Then, we will focus on the legal concerns encountered by both the independent farmers and producers as they try to get their products to local consumers through farm markets, restaurants or grocery stores, and on the other side, the legal concerns of a market-oriented business, such as a grocer or restaurant, that seeks to provide their consumers with locally-harvested food and drink. This information will be presented in a story format that tells the farm-to table-experience from the perspective of producers and business owners that we have shared their personal stories, as we gather data for this presentation. Subject to the willingness of an independent farmer, wine producer, restaurateur, or grocer to participate, we hope to compose a panel in which we will pose pertinent questions regarding their personal experiences and invite members of the audience to do the same. Our discussion will present relevant recent case law regarding the operation of agribusiness in Maryland and the effects of certain judicial holdings have had on the agriculture community. Such cases will include land use, zoning and land acquisition and sale issues. Specific developments within county and state legislation that help or hinder small scale agiculture will also be addressed. We will also identify practical solutions to the legal problems that stymie and, at times, prevent all consumers – wealthy, poor, urban, suburban, rural, young, and old – from enjoying a diet featuring the bounty of local harvests. This will include, for example, local zoning laws and permitting regulations. We also plan to highlight the interconnectedness and interdependence of rural and urban communities in Maryland, and how the health of one local economy and community impacts the other. As such, we will use a wide-angle lens to consider the regional impact of moving farm products in and out of both urban and rural environments and analyze how the legal and planning communities can best channel their expertise and efforts to create healthy and sustainable places.