Helping Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs Thrive

A robust movement is afoot to sustain New England’s communities with locally grown food, but many farmers and food entrepreneurs struggle to overcome the high legal fees associated with doing business.

CLF in Action

CLF is helping to address this problem with its pro bono legal services project, the Legal Food Hub. The Hub connects eligible farmers, food entrepreneurs, and the organizations that support them with attorneys from our growing network who work on their legal issues for free.

Our goal is to help provide legal services for farmers and food entrepreneurs to bring economic stability to the farm and food sector. Economic stability for farmers and food businesses will also increase regional food production and build a more just food system for all New Englanders.

We’re currently helping to provide legal services for farmers and food businesses in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, with plans to expand the program to additional New England states soon. We’ve placed more than 470 cases so far and crossed the $3 million mark in pro bono legal assistance leveraged through the program.

What’s at Stake

A thriving local food system is good for our communities, our health, and our economies. But for small farmers and food business startups, the legal services associated with starting and running a business can be so costly that they either go without or pay more than they can afford. In the worst-case scenario they lose their businesses or exit the field entirely due to these and other financial hurdles. That’s something that none of us in New England can afford.