Month: May 2021

2020-21 Year in Review

The Duke Food Law Society (FLS) had an exciting year, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We were thrilled to receive the Greatest Service to Outside Community D.O.N.E. Award from the Duke Bar Association this Spring.

This year, we compiled a Food Justice reading list and published it on our website. We hosted and co-sponsored multiple virtual events. FLS Board Members Drew Langan and Kristen Renberg planned “COVID-19 and the Slaughterhouse Industry,” an event that highlighted labor and animal rights issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic. Bridget Eklund, FLS’ President, and Jackie Jaffe, our Undergraduate Liaison, hosted a “Food Law Careers” panel for pre-law undergraduate students. FLS also led Duke Law’s team for the Legal Feeding Frenzy, an annual fundraiser and food drive for NC food banks. We raised $800 for the Central & Eastern North Carolina Food Bank!

We also organized two pro-bono projects that students worked on throughout the Fall and Spring Semesters. We partnered with the Land Loss Prevention Project, a non-profit law firm in Durham, to research historical requirements for owning land and historical events in North Carolina that contributed to loss, in order to help identify existing and new tools that can be used to prevent the loss of land. The Land Loss pro-bono team, led by Kristen Renberg, produced three research reports this year. We also worked with Farm Commons, a non-profit organization that supports farmers across the country by developing educational programs and resources about legal issues that affect farm businesses, this year. Students conducted research on core subject areas of farm law for various states, including business structures, land matters, employment, food safety, and agritourism/value-added products. The Farm Commons pro-bono team completed research reports on nine states. These reports will help Farm Commons create effective educational resources on farm business law for attorneys and other interested agricultural professionals.

Our new Leadership Board is looking forward to continuing these projects and activities next year!

2021-22 Leadership Board

  • Alex Obiol (2L), President
  • Kristen Renberg (3L)
  • Drew Langan (3L)
  • Emily Chrisman (2L)
  • Nate Schumacher (2L)
  • Jackie Jaffe (Senior, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences), Undergraduate Liaison
  • Kate Leonard (Junior, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences), Undergraduate Liaison

2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy

Written by Casey Collins

Join FLS in recognizing the success of the 2021 North Carolina Legal Feeding Frenzy, an annual food drive and fundraising competition to address food insecurity and hunger in NC.  In just one month, NC law firms, law schools, organizations, and individuals raised nearly $165,000 to support Feeding The Carolinas’ Food Banks. Thank you to everyone who donated through the Duke University School of Law link. Two FLS Board members, Kristen Renberg and Alex Obiol, spearheaded Duke Law’s fundraising efforts and raised $800 in this year’s fund drive (its largest contribution to date)!

Legal Feeding Frenzy Overview 

Held annually in March, the NC Legal Feeding Frenzy is a joint program of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division and Feeding the Carolinas food banks. It aims to fight hunger across North Carolina by uniting the legal community in support of local food banks. Food banks rely on volunteer labor and donations, but distribution costs remain and additional food must be purchased. A fundraiser at heart, the Legal Feeding Frenzy strives to generate this financial support while raising awareness of food insecurity across North Carolina.

COVID, Hunger, and Food Banks

Support for local food banks is more important than ever. COVID-19 struck the state with a double-edged sword, both deepening food insecurity and disrupting the operations food banks generally offer to ameliorate hunger.

The pandemic has exacerbated economic harms and destabilized access to basic resources across the state of North Carolina. Recent estimates suggest that one in five North Carolinians are now food insecure. The figure is even worse for children: nearly 1 in 4 young people don’t have enough to eat. Simultaneously, unemployment applications rose substantially through 2020.

Additionally, food banks have seen a drop in donations, which means food has to be purchased; the average food bank now spends nearly 12x more on monthly food purchases than Pre-Covid (roughly $1 million per month, now). The expenses mount as food moves into distribution phases, since food banks have lost over 50% of their volunteer workforce since the pandemic broke.  Complicating matters further, nearly 40% of partner agencies shut down during the pandemic.  In effect, food banks lost hundreds of distribution and food pick-up centers, making it harder for people in need to access food.

Recap: 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy

Thus the 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy came at a critical time, nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. To be sure, there are so many needs still unmet, and this fundraiser will offer a boost not a solution. Still, the success of this year’s fundraiser was hardly preordained. Covid-19 spawned novel — at times  existential — crises for both industries and individuals statewide.

Yet the NC legal community adapted, raising more than ever before. This year’s $165,00 in fundraising for food banks marks a 10 percent increase from March 2020’s $151,000. Amidst the isolation and darkness wrought by a global pandemic, the 2021 Legal Feeding Frenzy shines a light on the value of collaboration and local volunteer efforts. FLS was thrilled to be a part of this effort and we are looking forward to participating next year!

About the Food Bank

40 years ago, The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Food Bank) has a bold mission: empower local communities to overcome hunger and create an environment where all North Carolinians can thrive.  Providing food and educational resources to 34 NC counties, the Food Bank has developed a network of more than 900 partner agencies—from soup kitchens to food pantries to shelters. The collaboration makes an impact. The total food distributed by the Food Bank is the highest of any food bank in North Carolina; nationally, it ranks in the top 15 of over 200 food banks!

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