Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Led Roundtable Discussion

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Yale Law School for an informal roundtable discussion with fifteen students from the Yale Food Law Society on April 14.

The Secretary spoke substantively about a wide variety of Department of Agriculture programs, including their efforts to help farmers adapt to changing weather patterns, to promote local food systems, and to ensure the efficacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Secretary Vilsack candidly answered a variety of student questions on topics like antibiotics, climate change, labor, rural development, and nutrition.

Participants included Nathan Baker Clinical Professor of Law Jay Pottenger ’75; Mark Bomford, the director of the Yale Sustainable Food Program; Clinical Lecturer in Law Josh Galperin; and Steven Reviczky, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Secretary Vilsack’s first visit to Yale was timed, in part, to celebrate the Yale Food Law Society’s first semester as an official student group. "We're honored the Secretary was able to visit with us,” said Graham Downey ’16, Yale Food Law Society Co-Founder. “As our nation’s leading food and farming official, he was able to give Food Society members an unparalleled perspective on how the USDA works, and how he personally makes the decisions that will shape the future of food, farming, rural communities, environment, and health."

The Yale Food Law Society is a non-partisan community that promotes the study of and engagement with food and agriculture law and policy. The Society advocates for an approach that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.

While on campus, the Secretary also gave a public talk at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. At the beginning of that talk he asked the audience to suggest any five topics and then crafted a speech around those topics. He also met with students and faculty at the School of Architecture.