Laurie Ristino is a policy and law expert on food security, farm bill, climate change, ecosystem services, and land conservation. Her work is concerned with reforming existing law and policy and developing new policy and civil society innovations to address climate change, social injustice, and improve environmental and economic sustainability. Ms. Ristino has published articles, Op-Eds, and blogs proposing reforms to address soil, water and air quality degradation, among other topics. She is also the co-author and editor of a comprehensive book on conservation easements, titled A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Reader (2016, Environmental Law Institute). She has been quoted in top media outlets such as Mother Jones, Christian Science Monitor, E&E News, and Law360.
Ms. Ristino practiced law for twenty years, serving as a senior counsel at the USDA where she advised on an array of natural resource and environmental matters. More recently, she was appointed an associate law professor and the inaugural Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, which she built into one of the most comprehensive programs in the nation. Following Vermont Law, Ms. Ristino was a visiting scholar at the George Washington University Law School. Currently, she advises leading NGOs and foundations on environmental policy and strategy matters through her consultancy, Strategies for a Sustainable Future. She serves on the board of trustees for the Center for Progressive Reform and the Upper Valley Land Trust.
Ms. Ristino holds a law degree with distinction from the University of Iowa, a Master in Public Administration from George Mason University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.