Laurie Ristino

Laurie Ristino is Principal and Founder of Strategies for a Sustainable Future and a visiting scholar at The George Washington University Law School. She is serving as Acting Co-Executive Director of the Center for Progressive Reform, while the organization pursues a nationwide search for its next executive director.


Ristino is a legal and policy expert on food security, the farm bill conservation title, ecosystem services and private lands conservation. Her work is concerned with reforming existing law and policy and developing new policy innovations to address climate change resilience and improve sustainability. Ristino has written law review articles proposing farm bill reforms to address soil and water quality degradation. She is the co-author and editor of a comprehensive book on conservation easements, A Changing Landscape: The Conservation Reader (2016, Environmental Law Institute).

Ristino began her career as an attorney during the George H.W. Bush administration. One of her most vivid memories is watching the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings in the USDA General Counsel’s Office, situated on the nation’s Mall. She continued to serve as a public servant until President Obama’s second term both as a senior counsel and in various administrative leadership roles. Following federal service, Ristino served as the inaugural director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School and an associate professor of law. Currently, she is a lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University, and the founder and principal of the consultancy Strategies for a Sustainable Future.

Ristino has served in various leadership roles, including editor and columnist for the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources and Environment magazine; Vice Chair of the Government and Private Sector Innovation Committee, American Bar Association; Section Leader, Section of Food and Agriculture Law, American Association of Law Schools; and Steering Committee, University of Vermont Food Systems. She is a member of the Pennsylvania bar, associate member of the Environmental Law Institute, and a member of the federal Senior Executive Service.

Laurie Ristino
SSF website