Food Federalism: States, Local Governments, and the Fight for Food Sovereignty
20 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019
Date Written: 2018
Recently, a number of states have sought to withdraw or restrain local power. In this Article, which is part of the “Re-Thinking State Relevance” symposium hosted by the Ohio State Law Journal, I write about a state taking the opposite approach, and attempting to affirmatively endow its local governments with additional powers. The state is Maine, and the context is control over local food production and sales. This Article begins by addressing the emergence of the sustainable local foods movement broadly, and reasons for the growth of this movement. It then focuses more pointedly on the food sovereignty movement, considering the ways that this movement has sought to put control into the hands of local people, and thus local governments. This Article then considers the power struggles between state and local governments, and the reason that even strong local governments might not be able to act as forcefully as they would like in areas such as food regulation. Finally, this Article addresses Maine’s passage of a state law recognizing local food sovereignty, and the federalism concerns that this law raised. This Article seeks to present a roadmap for states that wish to play a more active role in advancing local food goals, or empowering local governments more broadly.
Keywords: Food Law, Federalism, Localism, Preemption, Local Government, State Government, Maine, Local Food, Food Sovereignty
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