Agricultural and Food Law Student Gains National, International Attention

Lauren Manning
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Lauren Manning

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Lauren Manning, a student in the University of Arkansas School of Law Master of Laws in Agricultural and Food Law Program, has had a busy few months of projects, honors and interviews. In April, she won the 2016 Human Rights Essay Award. In May, her work was published on the National Young Farmers Coalition blog. In July, she presented at a United Nations food security conference in Munich, Germany. She has been featured in a Huffington Post story about farmers under age 35, dubbed "millennial farmers," in Modern Farmer as part of its "#iamamodernfarmer Q&A" profile series and in Arkansas Life magazine.

The Human Rights Essay Award is an annual international competition sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University's Washington College of Law. It is designed to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. For the 2016 contest, 68 people in more than 36 countries submitted essays on the topic of "Extractive Industries and Human Rights."

Participants must hold a law degree and are allowed to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The essay must be a legal article and the top submissions are published in the American University International Law Review. Two winners – one essay in English and one in Spanish – are chosen by an honor jury composed of individuals recognized for their expertise in international human rights law.

Manning's essay, "Mining for Compromise in Pastoral Greenland: Promise, Progress and Problems in International Laws' Response to Indigenous People," stemmed from papers she wrote for two classes taught by Uché Ewelukwa Ofodile, professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. The piece explored the meaning of the right to food in international law today, examined the potential impact of mining activities on the livelihood of indigenous groups in Greenland and analyzed the potential role of businesses in Greenland and the State of Greenland in addressing the problems.

"This award was an honor and an absolute thrill," Manning said. "I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the intersection of human rights and agriculture. I cannot thank professor Ewelukwa enough for her encouragement and guidance during the writing process. After completing her courses and writing this paper, I have a much better understanding of how the emerging field of business human rights will be critical to addressing issues associated with agricultural production and the sourcing of raw food inputs around the world."

In her most recent project, Envisioning ZeroHunger, which was created in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator, Manning served as an editorial and research specialist. The project is designed to raise awareness about the future of food and to spark conversations through an online visualization tool that will allow participants to explore a vast range of scenarios and emerging technologies.

The global project team curated 128 emerging technologies organized into seven categories that could alter the food security landscape. The project was unveiled during the official launch of the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator on July 11 in Munich. A synopsis of the presentation can be seen at

Manning wrote "13 Countries, 145 Farmers: A profile of Joneve Murphy," which appeared on the National Young Farmers Coalition blog on May 4. The coalition represents, mobilizes and engages young farmers. Many of its programs and blog posts highlight practices and policies designed to sustain young, independent and prosperous farmers now and in the future.

In addition to her travels, honors and research, Manning is a lawyer, adjunct law professor and contributing writer for AgFunderNews. She is also a partner with Ozark Pasture Beef where she is learning to raise grass-finished beef and lamb.

Manning earned a Juris Doctor from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is admitted to practice law in California and practiced private civil litigation for three years before joining the University of Arkansas School of Law LL.M. Program. 


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law

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