Maine Legal Food Hub Revs Up for Second Year

Phelps Turner

The Maine Legal Food Hub, which provides pro bono legal assistance and training for farmers and food businesses, celebrates its second anniversary in 2017, kicking off the year with a presence, for the second year in a row, at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show January 10-12 in Augusta.

On January 11 and 12, the CLF Legal Food Hub will be hosting a series of roundtable discussions on a variety of legal topics geared specifically toward farmers, including risk management, labor and employment, taxes, leasing and purchasing land, and farm succession. And, on all three days of the show, the Legal Food Hub will be tabling an information booth on the main floor of the Augusta Civic Center. Please stop by to learn more about our program.

CLF’s Legal Food Hub helps small farmers and food entrepreneurs by matching them with free legal help provided by volunteer attorneys. It’s the first service of its kind in the nation and is currently available to farmers and food businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in addition to Maine.

Since its launch in 2014, we’ve helped a wide range of businesses throughout Maine, New England’s largest land base for agriculture.  From small organic farms with employment issues to a tofu manufacturer with lease questions, as our case numbers increased, so too did our volunteer attorney network. Here in Maine, more than 40 firms and solo practitioners have joined our network, giving farmers and food entrepreneurs access to a wealth of diverse legal knowledge and experience. The Maine Bar’s support has allowed the Hub to leverage thousands of dollars from pro bono legal services.

CLF is building on the Legal Food Hub’s success in Maine and Massachusetts with a recently launched Rhode Island Hub and plans to expand to Connecticut later in the year. With farmers and food entrepreneurs nationwide facing the same issues we see here in Maine and throughout New England, we are also excited to be developing the Hub model nationally in order to support a sustainable and robust food economy across the country.

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