Laurie Ristino is the inaugural director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School and an associate professor of law.
Professor Ristino is a legal and policy expert on food security, the farm bill conservation title, ecosystem services and private lands conservation. Her work is concerned with reforming existing law and policy and developing new policy innovations to address climate change resilience and improve sustainability. Professor Ristino has written law review articles proposing farm bill reforms to address soil and water quality degradation. She is the co-author and editor of a comprehensive book on conservation easements, A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Reader (2016, Environmental Law Institute).
Professor Ristino began her career as an attorney during the George H.W. Bush Administration. One of her most vivid memories is watching the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings in the USDA General Counsel’s Office, situated on the nation’s Mall. She continued to serve as a public servant until President Obama’s second term both as a senior counsel and in various administrative leadership roles. Her public service deeply informs her policy research and advocacy, which is committed to practical innovation in service to people and the planet. Examples of her current project work at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, which reflect these principles, include Blueprint for a National Food Strategy, the Healthy Food Policy Project, and the National Gleaning Project.
Professor Ristino has served in various leadership roles, including editor and columnist for the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources and Environment magazine; Vice Chair of the Government and Private Sector Innovation Committee, American Bar Association; Section Leader, Section of Food and Agriculture Law, American Association of Law Schools; and Steering Committee, University of Vermont Food Systems. She currently serves as Senior Fellow with the New Economy Law Center at Vermont Law School.
Professor Ristino is a member of the Pennsylvania bar, associate member of the Environmental Law Institute, a member of the American Agricultural Law Association, and a member of the federal Senior Executive Service.