Nicole Civita
Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead • Instructor
MENV

Nicole Civita is an Instructor and the Sustainable Food Systems Specialization Lead in the Masters of the Environment Graduate Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her approach to the study of food is grounded in systems thinking and caretaking, attentive to ethical values and tradeoffs, and framed by comprehensive law and policy knowledge. In recent years, Nicole’s research and creative work has focused on supporting the well-being of workers and producers, identifying opportunities for food conservation, building resilient place-based food systems with mutually beneficial urban-rural connections, and harnessing the hidden power of food systems to help address the climate crisis. Through this work, she produces ethical guidance, actionable policy recommendations, and transparency-enhancing tools that enable nourishing, informed, and values-aligned choices about food.

She was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (holding the Academic seat).  She is a founding convener of Project Protect Food Systems and a member of the Colorado Food Systems Coalition and its COVID Rapid Response Team.

Beyond Colorado, to support resilience in a part of the world that has done little to accelerate the climate crisis but stands to suffer the most from its consequences, Nicole collaborates with Student Education & Support Association and Gopikabai Sitaram Gawande (GSG) College.  In this capacity, Nicole has spearheaded the development of the Maati-Paani-Asha vision for regenerating the agricultural system in Umarkhed, Maharashtra to reduce farmer suicide, develop resilience against drought and extreme heat, and improve health.

Nicole is also an Affiliated Professor with the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law where she teaches advanced law courses on Urban Agriculture Law, Practice, and Policy, as well as Food Security and Social Justice.  She has also conducted applied food ethics research through the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.  With the Choose Food project, she articulated Core Ethical Commitments for food system actors, created consumer-facing guides on ethical eating, and probed the power and limits of market-based change strategies for ethical improvement of and through the food system.  More recently, she collaborated with the Berman Institute to co-lead Business Unusual: The Essential Workers Project.  In addition to her academic and creative work, Nicole occasionally practices food and agricultural law of counsel to Handel Food Law, LLC. Nicole holds an LL.M. in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, a J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the Georgetown University Law Center, and an A.B. in American Studies and Creative Writing from Columbia University.