DETROIT, Mich. – The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is co-sponsoring with the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan the Second Annual Urban Farming Symposium on Friday, May 18, 2012, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the School’s Riverfront Campus located at 651 East Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit. Professor Jacqueline Hand, a tenured professor at the School teaching Property Law and Environmental Law, is co-chairing the event with Gregory J. Gamalski (UDM Law, 1983), a partner in the Business Practice Group of Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, PC, in Troy, Michigan, and Paul Thursam, an associate at GMH.
The Symposium is a discussion and examination of key urban issues, which must include urban agriculture and the re-purposing of Detroit. Detroit is a laboratory where urban farming is fermenting, evolving, and growing. The event is open to the public but will be directed toward the legal community and planning organizations. The Symposium is intended to establish a reasoned framework for discussions about the legal and policy issues that should be considered by local units of government and citizens grappling with this dynamic concept.
Symposium speakers include Neil Hamilton of Drake University; Brad Deacon of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development; Kathryn Colasanti of the Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU; and Melanie Duda, an expert in urban agriculture.
Neil Hamilton is a Professor of Law and Director of The Agricultural Law Center at Drake University. As one of the nation’s leading authorities on the role of law in shaping agriculture and the food system, Prof. Hamilton has lectured throughout the United States and in 20 other countries. He has taught agricultural law for 30 years and has written more than four dozen law review articles and several books on food and agricultural law issues. Each year he is a visiting professor in the agricultural law graduate program at the University of Arkansas.
Brad Deacon is the Emergency Management and Administrative Law Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Mr. Deacon has an undergraduate and a law degree from Michigan State University and studied business and economics at the University of the Saarland in Germany on a Fulbright grant. He is the co-chair of the Michigan Food & Agriculture Protection and Defense Working Group, and he represents the Department on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Homeland Security Preparedness Committee, the Michigan Citizen-Community Emergency Response Coordinating Council, and the State Animal Response Team Board.
Kathryn Colasanti is a visiting specialist with the Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University. She has a master’s degree in community food and agriculture from MSU. Before joining the Mott Group in 2007, she worked on an urban farm and with a community garden non-profit in Denver. Ms. Colasanti is interested in local food systems, particularly in the urban context; food security and access; local food system planning; and urban agriculture. She coordinates the Michigan Good Food Charter Development project and conducts research and outreach related to urban agriculture and local food systems with the group.
Melanie Duda is a third-year student at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and is graduating in May 2012. She is a member of the Law Review and serves as a Symposium Editor. Ms. Duda’s article, “Growing in the D: Revising Current Laws to Promote a Model of Sustainable City Agriculture,” will be published in Volume 89 of the Law Review, forthcoming later in 2012. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Anthropology from Wayne State University, where much of the research she did as a graduate student fostered her interest in urban agriculture.
For additional information or to register for the May 18th Urban Farming Symposium, please see the link on the home page of the UDM Law web site at www.law.udmercy.edu. Space is limited and reservations are required ($40 general admission and $10 additional fee for a guided walking tour of Detroit’s famed Eastern Market).
Contact: Denise P. Hickey, Assistant Dean of Alumni Relations
Phone: (313) 596-0202