The Legal Food Hub just reached another milestone: its 100th case in Massachusetts. The 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, Maine, and Rhode Island.
Since our launch in 2014, we’ve helped a wide range of businesses across the Commonwealth get on solid legal footing, from small organic farms with employment issues to breweries with lease and equity investment questions. As our case numbers increased, so too did our volunteer attorney network. Here in Massachusetts, more than 50 firms and solo practitioners have joined our network, giving us access to a wealth of diverse legal knowledge and experience. Their support has allowed us to leverage more than $750,000 in pro bono legal services in the Massachusetts Hub alone.
We are building on this success with our just-launched Rhode Island Hub and are planning to expand to Connecticut in the coming year. With farmers and food entrepreneurs nationwide facing the same issues we see here in New England, we are also excited at the prospect of developing the Hub model nationally in order to help support a sustainable and robust food economy across the country.
In other Massachusetts Hub news, we’ve partnered with Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic to release a second edition of our Massachusetts Farm & Food Law Guide. The new chapters on farmland acquisition and taxation will help attorneys become familiar with issues that are particular to farmers in order to better serve their specific needs.
Finally, mark your calendars – the Massachusetts Hub has some upcoming educational workshops:
- February 7 from 6–9PM, Boston, MA (Roxbury). Hub network attorneys from Klavens Law Group will present a workshop on business structures for urban farmers at The Carrot Project’s urban agriculture training program.
- March 7–9, Sturbridge, MA. Hub network attorneys will host two workshops on business structures – one for farmers, one for farmers’ market managers – at Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trades Show.
For more information on the Legal Food Hub, visit www.legalfoodhub.org.