Carlson Swafford

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Legal Associate

Carlson Gray Swafford is an attorney licensed to practice law in the states of Tennessee and Vermont. Carlson earned his JD and Masters of Environmental Law and Policy at Vermont Law School, and a Masters in Theological Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University.

He has a background working on cooperative corporations and renewable energy policy. Prior to law, he worked in food security, on teaching farms, and in intentional community. Liberation philosophies and permaculture led him to study environmental law. While he studied the history of the environmental movement, he saw that so much of environmental law is about correcting “externalities,” the unaccounted-for costs of business-as-usual.

When “thinking in systems,” he started to see these externalities as mere outputs,  symptomatic of broken ownership structure. He turned his attention toward economic democracy because he believes that it shifts the paradigm from an economy that maximizes value through extraction, to an economy marked by sustainable, equitable growth. Through economic democracy we can build resilient social, economic, and ecological systems that generate equity and respond positively to change.

After law school, he founded Eco Demo Advisors LLC, which provides legal solutions to cooperative and environmental businesses in Tennessee. When he is not nerding on justice, Carlson enjoys playing acoustic guitar, riding his motorcycle, volunteering with his niece, drinking coffee, and sitting on the porch with his best girl Korra (a corgi-beagle mix) and his partner Sandra.