Symposium on Models of Sustainability and Mississippi

November 7-9, 2012

The University of Mississippi School of Law is pleased to be collaborating with the William Winter Center for Racial Reconciliation to present a Symposium on the Comparative Models of Sustainability and the Future of the Mississippi Delta.  This Symposium will assemble representatives from academia, non-profit organizations, local and international, to discuss efforts to more effectively implement various models of agricultural sustainability around the world as well as new energy-based models, which can be useful for the Delta and other rural areas of the United States.

For this purpose, the symposium will focus on the following: 1) changing farming regulations and farming practices so as to create sustainable farming for small farmers in the Mississippi Delta; 2) Input from local farmers from Mississippi’s Delta and Alabama’s Black Belt as to the needs and efforts at sustainability in the region; 3) Exploration of models from international women farming federations in West Africa (who have already created programs for sustainable farming in their regions); 4) Exploration possibilities for energy based models of sustainability for the region; and (5) legal and practical responses to decimation and depletion of capital in our region and case studies in moving forward in constructive and positive ways.  The issue of sustainability being dire for rural residents in Mississippi (as well as for poor people residing in rural areas all over the world), this symposium will mark a crucial effort to counter the deplorable trends in our region.

Symposium attendees are invited to a special dinner being held on Thursday, November 8, the afternoon preceding the Symposium, at the University of Mississippi with our keynote speaker, Civil Rights Activists and Legal Scholars Bill and Rita Bender, to discuss the historical and modern challenges to sustainability in Mississippi. 

About the University of Mississippi School of Law

The University of Mississippi School of Law draws its strength inside and outside the classroom from a dynamic faculty, whose diverse interests and experiences serve students and surrounding communities, as well as the global community. Beyond the classroom, the law school faculty is at the forefront of emerging scholarship in a number of disciplines. The School of Law’s LEED-certified building opened in spring 2011, incorporating environmental stewardship with architecture that blends in with the beauty of the Ole Miss campus. The School’s nationally- and globally-recognized centers and clinics provide practical experience, as well as academic training in areas ranging from business law to provision of services to the poor.

About our Co-Sponsors

The University of Mississippi William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

Based in a state shaped by a painful racial history, the Winter Institute serves communities working to bridge racial divisions and to address common issues of social justice by identifying successful strategies that can be useful in mediating other conflicts as well. The Institute for Racial Reconciliation was established in August 1999, and named for former Mississippi Governor William F. Winter on February 20, 2003, in honor of his 80th birthday.  The mission of the Institute is to foster reconciliation and civic renewal wherever people suffer as a result of racial discrimination or other effects of trafficking in human differences, and to promote scholarly research and teaching on race and the impact of race and racism.  The Institute has been actively involved in over twenty Mississippi communities, including several with a history of violent opposition to integration. Some projects have been explicitly identified as racial reconciliation efforts.  The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation works in communities and classrooms, in Mississippi and beyond, to support a movement of racial equity and wholeness as a pathway to ending and transcending all discrimination based on difference.

The Sarah Isom Center for Women

The Sarah Isom Center for Women was established at The University of Mississippi in 1981 to address the changing roles and expectations of women students, faculty, and staff.   The mission of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies is to integrate scholarly research on women’s and gender issues with advocacy for women in the classroom, on the campus, and in the larger community. More information about the Center can be found at www.sarahisomcenter.org  and on their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SarahIsomCenter

The Black Law Student Association

The Black Law Students Association (Constance Slaughter Harvey Chapter) serves as a support group for minorities at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The Chapter is an organization built on promoting the professional needs and goals of Black Law Students while fostering and encouraging professional competence. The organization focuses on the relationship of African American students and attorneys to ensure a successful legal education and instill in the students a greater awareness and commitment to the needs of the community.

The Office of Sustainability

The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to weave throughout our campus fabric the principles of resource stewardship, responsible decisions and planning that result in efficient operations, enlightened understanding, and higher quality of life for current and future generations.  The Office of Sustainability pursues its mission by serving as the university’s sustainability conscience and catalyst for action.  The office connects ideas with talents, expertise, and resources to bring about organizational and cultural change in pursuing sustainability goals.  By working collaboratively with student, faculty, and staff groups, the Office of Sustainability seeks to engage the entire campus in this effort.  A major piece of realizing culture change is communicating all the efforts happening across campus operations, in the classrooms, and in the laboratories.  The Office of Sustainability will seek to gather the data, the information, and the stories to share with our community and the larger communities of which we are a part.  We seek to align our work with the benefit of the university and the concerns of the students while at the same time providing the education and outreach necessary to shift attitudes towards a more sustainable perspective.


Program

November 7, 2012

Pre-Conference Roundtable Sharing and Networking Session Between National and International farmers, food activists, Local Governments Scholars

2:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m. Law School, Room 3001

This session will consist of an honest discussion where farmers and sustainability activists from West Africa and farmers and Ag. Activists from neighboring regions share their experience with implementing sustainability models.  These farmers/activists will share stories/show documentaries of farmers working to promote sustainable foods in their communities.  The goal of this session is to encourage dialogue and collaboration between various groups working on these important issues.

Moderators — Michèle Alexandre, Associate Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, MS and Audrey McFarlane, University of Baltimore law School
Amy C. Evans, Oral Historian, Southern Foodways Alliance
Coumba Toure, Représentante régionale (Africa), Ashoka,
Maria Diarra, Director and Rural Activist, Institut pour L’Education Populaire, Mali
Julian Miller, University of Mississippi/Delta Fresh Foods Network
Faya Rose Toure, Chestnut Sanders and Sanders, Black Farmers Lead Counsel
Susan Burgin, University of Mississippi School of Law/Environmental Law Society


November 8, 2012

Guided Tour of Yokna Bottoms Farm — 1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. (Departure from the University of Mississippi School of Law’s parking lot)

Welcome Dinner—4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Room 1115)

Bill and Rita Bender—Civil Rights Activists and Lawyers, Visiting Professors of Law, University of Mississippi, 2009-2010.
Keynote Speech on historical of land loss in Mississippi and how deterministic legal structures have contributed to the sustainability crisis in the state.


November 9, 2012

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Registration and Continental Breakfast—Law School, Room 3001

9:00 a.m.– 9:30 a.m.: Welcoming Remarks
Richard Gershon
, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, MS
Michèle Alexandre, Associate Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, MS
Ian Banner, Sustainability Department/Director of Facilities Planning/University Architect

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Setting the Stage— Perspectives on the New Farm Bill and Small farmers
John Gilliland, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Roundtable One: The Marketplace, Economic Rights and Sustainability
This roundtable will feature experts discussing market challenges to sustainability globally and in the United States

Moderator: Dennis H Laumann, University of Memphis
Daniel Doyle: Executive Director for the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi
John Green: Director for the Center for Population Studies
Nathan Rosenberg: Food Rights Activist, Mississippi Delta Fellow, Mississippi State University and Harvard Law School
Kindaka Sanders, Texas Southern University School of Law
Stephanie Showalter Otts, University of Mississippi School of Law
Julian Miller, University of Mississippi/Delta Fresh Foods Network

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Networking Break

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Roundtable Two: International Models for Sustainable Rural Sectors

Moderator: Audrey McFarlane, University of Baltimore School of Law
Amy C. Evans, Oral Historian, Southern Foodways Alliance
Maria Diarra, Director and Rural Activist, Institut pour L’Education Populaire, Mali
Faya Rose Toure, Lead Counsel in the Black Farmers Lawsuit

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Keynote Luncheon—The Role of Energy Development in Creating Models of Sustainability for Rural Regions

Introduction: Niki Pace—University of Mississippi School of Law/Sea Grant Law Center
Keynote Address: Timothy G. Rials, Professor and Director Center for Renewable Carbon The University of Tennessee

2:15p.m. –3:45 p.m.: Student Roundtable

Moderator—Kindaka Sanders, Texas Southern University School of Law
Julian D. Miller, University of Mississippi School of Law/ Delta Fresh Foods Network

University of Mississippi law students will discuss the next generation of lawyers’ view of environmental justice and improving community representation.

Alicia Netterville, University of Mississippi School of Law/Black Law Students Association
Jack West, University of Mississippi Law Journal
Anna Outzen, University of Mississippi School of Law/Environmental Law Society

3:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Roundtable Three: So Now What Do We Do? —Solutions and Implementation models

This closing roundtable will focus on legal and practical responses to economic deprivation in rural areas and on moving forward in a constructive and positive manner.  Examples of success will be highlighted, as well as examples where improvements are needed.  This panel will also consider a way of continuing the work started at this conference and will form two committees: a) committee to work on submitting a collective grant proposal and b) a committee to formulate strategies for the enactment of legislation to help foster rural development.

Moderator: L. Darnell Weeden, Texas Southern School of Law
Dennis Laumann, University of Memphis
Alena Allen, University of Memphis School of Law
Niki Pace, University of Mississippi School of Law/Sea Grant Law Center
Kindaka Sanders, Texas Southern University Law School
Daniel Doyle, Executive Director for the Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi
Rita Bender and Bill Bender, skellenger bender
Julian Miller, University of Mississippi/Delta Fresh Foods Network
Alison Korn, Civil Legal Clinic

5:45 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: Closing Remarks

Matthew Hall, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, MS

6:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.: Reception—Law School Room 1115

Please join the University of Mississippi School of for a closing reception celebrating the beginning of our discussion on sustainability and the Delta.


Suggested Bibliography for Attendeees and Interested Persons:

Eric Froner, Reconstruction – America’s Unfinished Revolution – 1863-1877, Harper & Row, 1988;

Nan Elizabeth Woodruff,  American Congo – The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta, Harvard University Press,  2003;

Gene Dattel, Cotton and Race in the Making of America – The Human Costs of Economic  Power, Ivan R. Dee, 2009;

Richard Aubrey McLemore and Nannie Pitts McLemore, Mississippi Through Four Centuries, Laidlaw Bro.,  1945;

Mikko Saikeu, This Delta, This Land – An Environmental History of the Yazoo-Mississippi Floodplain,  University of Georgia Press,  2005;

A Portrait of Mississippi (Burd-Sharps, Lewis and Martins) American Human Development Project, 2009;

The Agrarian South (Beck, Fransden, Bandall)  Reprinted from Southern Culture, an Introduction, Carolina Press, 2009;

Wood and Giblert, Lower Mississippi Delta, The Review of Black Political Economy/Spring 2000

Debbie Elliott, Mississippi Delta’s Economy, Way of Life Fading; www.npr.org/templates/story.php?storyId+4675562 ;

Jasper Womach,  Average Farm Subsidy Payments, by State, Congressional Research Service – Library of Congress, September 16, 2004;

EWG Farm Subsidy Database, Mississippi Summary Information, 1995-2011,  http://farm.ewg.org/region.php?fips+2800  ;

Big Farms Get Most Subsidies in Poor Region, June 21 2007 Houston Chronicle;

Sean Farrell, Not Just Farms Anymore: The Effects of World War II on Mississippi’s Economy,  Mississippi History Now,  September, 2001;

United States Department of Agriculture,  Ag Report(s) Vols. 12-12 and 12-15;

United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007 Census of Agriculture,   Acres Treated with Chemicals to Control Insects: 2007;

Mississippi River Basin Initiative,  Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, August, 2012,  http://sustainableagriculture.net/our-work/conservation-environment/Mississippi-river-basin ;

Mississippi Delta Forrest Inventory, Mississippi Institute for Forest Inventory, 2009;

Matthew Grassi, 5 Takeaways From the CTIC’s Tour of the Yaz00-Mississippi Delta, Croplife, June 19, 2012;


For any questions, please contact Professor Michele Alexandre by email at malexand@olemiss.edu or by phone at 662-915-6858.