By Codi Coulter
At this year’s Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, Delegate Lorig Charkoudian will be part of the panel “Strengthening Local Food Systems Through Law and Policy: the Role of Food Policy Councils and the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program” along with Karen Fedor, Certified Local Farm Program director, and Justin Hayes, Assistant Attorney General, both with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The panelists will discuss the role of recently developed programs in addressing supply chain and equity issues in Maryland’s food system. For more information about the Conference and to register, visit go.umd.edu/umlawconfreg21.
Delegate Charkoudian represents District 20 in the Maryland General Assembly. She strongly advocates for environmental justice, a sustainable food system, and consumer, criminal, and economic justice. Charkoudian draws on her experience with Community Mediation Maryland, where she has seen the impact of grassroots social change, to advance her food system work. According to Charkoudian, not only is food vital to our survival, it is core to our cultures and reflects health, economic development, environmental issues, and more.
“When we build strong food systems, we can address all of those things,” said Charkoudian. She can see the strong systems starting to form in Maryland and is excited about the possibilities that brings.
Charkoudian plays a key role in advocating for the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program. This program is designed to achieve multiple goals, including creating guaranteed markets for local farmers, getting local food into Maryland institutions, and funding aggregation infrastructure to facilitate those processes. The Program will support those farmers who often internalize the cost to implement practices to protect the Chesapeake Bay by incentivizing state institutions to purchase from them, rather than out-of-state farms.
Charkoudian is also a member of the Maryland Food Resiliency Council, established in 2021 to look at issues surrounding food security and bring together state agencies to maximize funding and coordinate emergency response. The council’s goal is to ensure all people have access to safe food and to build an equitable long-term food system.
To learn more and hear from Delegate Charkoudian, register for the seventh annual Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference, held virtually Nov. 17-18. You can register at go.umd.edu/umlawconfreg21.