Student Spotlight: Nico Lustig JD/MFALP'19

Nico Lustig

Nico Lustig JD/MFALP’19 has a professional mission: to use the law to help communities, entrepreneurs, and workers create cooperatives, benefit corporations, and social enterprises that strengthen connection and cultivate human and environmental health. A student in the JD/ Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP) joint degree program, Nico already had years of experience working on local food issues before she came to VLS.

She worked as the Food Business Development Specialist at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation in Western Massachusetts, where she helped many New England farmers and start-up entrepreneurs develop and grow sustainable food businesses. For 12 years before that, she managed regional Natural Foods Cooperative Markets in Maine and Massachusetts.

She received a degree in Business Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and studied abroad in Khon Kaen, Thailand, researching the effect of development and globalization on the environment and agricultural communities. She worked with fellow students to found the Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange (ENGAGE), a robust non-profit that is still thriving today.

At VLS, Nico is an Environmental and Social Justice Mission Scholar, a research assistant and Media Director for the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, co-chair of the Food and Agriculture Law Society, and the environmental justice editor of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. She is also on the board of Red Tomato, a produce distribution organization that applies fair trade principles to domestically sourced, Eco-Farmed regional foods.

“Nico is using all of the resources VLS has to offer to prepare herself to go out in the world and be a warrior on behalf of sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems.”
Professor John Echeverria

“I am earning a law degree to continue my lifelong work of building a more equitable food system,” Nico says. “At VLS, I am learning how to map the frontiers of the new environmental law movement. I am focused on crafting an innovative economic paradigm, from the ground up, that promotes regenerative environmental practices while planting the legal tools that will sustain the future of democracy into the hearts, hands, and minds of many.”