Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin recently took a group of his American University food policy undergraduate students to the White House for a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden. The hour-long tour, the last offered this season, featured discussion and a walk around both the White House garden the beehive.
The tour capped a semester in which Linnekin taught two separate food-policy short courses at American University and a semester-long Food Law & Policy Seminar at George Mason University Law School. The classes featured a host of guest lecturers whose expertise and views spanned the food spectrum. The diverse list of featured speakers included experts from the Institute for Justice, the Humane Society of the United States, National Geographic, the American Beverage Association, the office of Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), the Washington Post, and Politico. They discussed issues pertaining to food trucks, animal welfare laws, soda taxes, local foods, and working in (and writing about) food policy. In addition, students studied a variety of topics--including obesity, the Farm Bill, and food freedom.
"Together, these courses have helped introduce a new generation of students to a variety of perspectives on food policy," says Linnekin. "The opportunity to be exposed to a broad range of issues and opinions on food policies is something I wish I'd had as an undergraduate and law student. Wherever these bright and capable students take their knowledge is up to them."
Next semester, Linnekin will teach an undergraduate course on alcohol regulations, "The Drinking Age," at American University.
Next month, voters in Berkeley and San Francisco will go to the polls to vote on ballot measures that would impose respective soda taxes on residents in each city. A victory in either city would be the first such tax in the nation.
We here at Keep Food Legal have never been fond of soda taxes or other taxes targeting specific foods. Why? They're unfair, and they don't work.
Last week, an op-ed written by Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin and published in Berkeleyside, an independent paper in Berkeley's, urged voters there to weigh these factors.
Linnekin also appealed to residents in the historically left-leaning cities to consider that historically "food taxes are a common-sense issue, rather than a partisan one." That's true. As he notes, a so-called "fat tax" passed by a conservative government in Denmark was repealed by a subsequent liberal government, whose leaders realized the tax was ineffective and counterproductive.
"Progressives want taxes that work," Linnekin writes. "Conservatives want fewer taxes. Both want policies based on science. Both want healthy people. By any measure, these proposed beverage taxes won’t meet either side's standards."
Earlier this month, Keep Food Legal executive director Baylen Linnekin appeared with host Kennedy on the Fox Business Channel show The Independents to discuss the often-difficult regulatory environment for food trucks. Click on the image below to watch the segment.
For see and read more about what Keep Food Legal has to say on food trucks, click here.
We are thrilled to announce that Keep Food Legal Foundation has secured tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status from the federal government. We received notice of our status as a public charity recently in a determination letter provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
As many of you know, we launched Keep Food Legal Foundation in 2012 in order to expand Keep Food Legal's existing efforts in the areas of education, outreach, and research and publications. Since filing our application for tax-exempt status with the IRS in 2012, we waited anxiously for word of our application. After we responded earlier this year to an IRS request to provide additional information, we continued to wait until we received the agency's determination letter this summer.
What does Keep Food Legal Foundation's new tax-exempt status mean for our future? We anticipate it will allow for an expansion of our existing efforts in the areas of education and research by providing access to important new revenue streams. Fellow public charities, private foundations, other grantmakers, corporations, and individual donors of all types who, like many of you, seek to make tax-deductible, charitable contributions to causes you support will all be eligible to make tax-deductible donations to Keep Food Legal Foundation.
Your support has already been evident. Since its formation in 2012, Keep Food Legal Foundation has already raised tens of thousands of dollars, far outpacing the money Keep Food Legal has raised during its existence. And we're pleased to inform you that our new 501(c)(3) status means all of the funds you donated to Keep Food Legal Foundation since June 13, 2012--along, of course, with all of your donations from this point onward--are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Many of you likely noticed our fantastic new Keep Food Legal Foundation logo, which sits at right. It's just one of many changes you'll begin to see around these parts. In the coming months, we'll have more to share about our upcoming projects, including a redesign of our website, an anticipated Kickstarter campaign to support our Opt Out of School Lunch project, two research reports, an update on our FOIA lawsuit against New York City (which has provided us with thousands of pages of documents to review), new promotional materials, and many other details about our planned future efforts. If you would like to support our work in these areas, you may do so either at our donation page or by sending a check to us at the mailing address at the bottom of this page.
In the meantime, we want to thank you again for your past, present, and future support of our work. Without you, Keep Food Legal Foundation would never have become a reality.