Staff Spotlight: Stephanie Schlitter
Our team at Farm Commons is made up of wildly talented, passionate, food and farm loving leaders. This month, we’ll be featuring a staff member each week so you can learn more about the gals that make our farm law educational programming happen every day, in all the ways.
This week, meet our Legal Fellow, Stephanie Schlitter!
Where’s your hometown? I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but I dreamed of living on a farm and spending my days outdoors like my dad in his childhood and my ancestors before him. (Our family still owns the farm where he was raised near Decorah, Iowa.) My family connections to agriculture sparked a longstanding interest in our food system and environmental stewardship, which shaped my education and career path. While earning my B.S. degree in environmental sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, I studied agroecology and worked in the student organic garden and an entomology lab. Since then, I’ve worked for various nonprofits engaged in environmental and human rights advocacy.
When did your interest in food and agriculture begin? Before receiving my law degree from the University of Chicago, I spent two years working on small farms in western North Carolina. During law school, I worked on behalf of small businesses (primarily, a vermicomposting company) at the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. My experiences convinced me of the urgent need for improved legal resources for farmers in order to promote a healthy, sustainable food supply for all. I’m thrilled to help develop those resources as a post-graduate fellow at Farm Commons this year.
What’s your role at Farm Commons? I mainly conduct legal research and draft educational resources for attorneys and other agricultural service providers. I appreciate that this work allows me to use my legal skills to support farmers who work tirelessly to feed their communities. My favorite aspect of Farm Commons’ work is that it empowers farmers to better manage their own risks and utilize the power of law to strengthen their businesses.
Alright, most important question – what’s your favorite vegetable and way to prepare it? My favorite vegetables are lowly roots—especially turnips, radishes, carrots, and beets. Sometimes sweet, earthy, or even spicy, they’re always delicious in my opinion. I usually keep things simple (buttered radish toast with fresh herbs is a great accompaniment to eggs for breakfast), but I’ve also been known to use them in more complex dishes in unexpected ways (beet chocolate cake is a household favorite).
Fun fact: I recently relocated to Duluth, Minnesota, where I live with my dog, Casanova. We’re both looking forward to exploring the Northwoods this summer! When I’m not at work, I’m often busy in the kitchen or running on a nearby trail.