Professor Laurie Ristino joined the Vermont Law School faculty in 2013. She is the first director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) and an associate professor of law. As director, she is responsible for CAFS vision and direction, including curriculum development, teaching, outreach, and advocacy. Professor Ristino is also the faculty advisor to VLS's Food and Agriculture Law Society.
Before joining VLS, Professor Ristino was a senior counsel with the Office of the General Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. At the USDA, she advised the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Department on environmental and natural resources legal policy issues. She is an expert on the conservation title of the farm bill, and advised on the implementation of the 2002 and 2008 farm bills, as well as the run-up to the 2013 farm bill. Professor Ristino has also served in various administrative leadership capacities, including acting director of the Easement Programs Division of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, special assistant to the deputy assistant secretary for administration of the Department of Interior, and special assistant for the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico, Office of the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Professor Ristino previously taught the environmental agriculture course at George Washington University Law School. She is an associate member of the Environmental Law Institute, a member of the American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and a member of the American Agricultural Law Association. Professor Ristino serves as an editor and columnist for the ABA's Natural Resources & Environment magazine. She is also member of the Federal Senior Executive Service and the Pennsylvania Bar.