Farm and Food Initiative

At CLF, we believe that a thriving New England means a thriving local food system – the region’s communities, environment, and economy depend on it. New Englanders are proud of our rich history of farming and fishing; bucolic landscapes and rugged coastlines; our artisanal cheeses and fresh seafood; maple syrups and apple ciders. In addition to food’s value in its own right, local food production also has strong environmental and economic benefits. CLF is working to help shape and foster a sustainable local food system to help New England communities thrive.

Our food system is a unique lens through which to study and address long-standing economic inequities. Not only is there a striking disparity in wealth and power between large-scale industrial agriculture companies and small- and medium-scale farmers, but this inequity also exists on the consumer side between more affluent populations living close to well-stocked supermarkets and lower-income, largely urban populations lacking easy access to healthy, fresh food. Working toward a sustainable regional food system necessarily involves addressing these economic inequities by leveling the playing field for producers, and increasing food access for people living in underserved communities.

Farmers, food entrepreneurs, consumers, and other stakeholders are hard at work throughout New England creating the vision for a regional food system. CLF is working with these groups to provide the legal and policy scaffolding to construct that vision. We are building on CLF’s long track record of successful policy reform in New England by developing and advancing local, state, regional, and national policy reforms that better support farm and food enterprises and reduce legal hurdles for sustainable agricultural production in New England.

By building a robust, resilient regional food network we can help increase fresh food access, create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, foster healthy communities, and support regional economies – the hallmarks of a truly thriving New England.

Jennifer Rushlow, CLF Staff Attorney, Director Farm & Food Initiative