|Support SELC! |
1) Donate to support our world-changing work! All donations are tax-deductible. Click here: www.theselc.org/donate/
3) Join our mailing list by clicking on the right-hand column here:
Workshop to Advance Your Food Business or Idea (Cost: Free. Location: Richmond Public Library)
2/26: SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi will present at the East Bay Express Progressive Opportunities Conference.
(Cost: $25-35. Location: David Brower Center, Berkeley)
3/23-3/25: SELC is co-sponsoring the Economics of Happiness Conference, organized by the International Society for Ecology and Culture.
(Cost: $250-300. Location: David Brower Center, Berkeley)
Outside the Bay Area2/8 (Candler, NC): SELC is teaming up with attorney Thomas Beckett to offer a "Legal Strategies for Social Enterprise and Sustainable Economies" workshop. All proceeds from the workshop will benefit SELC and Ownership Appalachia, which fosters employee ownership and the development of cooperative enterprise in Southern Appalachia. (Cost: $5-75 sliding scale for public, $150 for attorneys, includes 3.0 MCLE credits. Location: A-B Tech Enka Campus, Candler, NC)
|Volunteer and Internship Opportunities|
SELC offers a variety of ways to get involved on a volunteer basis, plus we offer more structured full-time and part-time internships for law students and other community members interested in dedicating significant time to learning about the law. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the volunteer questionnaire.
If you are interested in applying for an internship, please see the internship application guidelines under Internships. If you have questions, please email Janelle Orsi at Janelle.SELC@gmail.com.
Welcome to SELC's monthly newsletter! Every month, we'll share exciting updates on SELC's advocacy, legal research, and educational efforts to support the transition to sustainable, localized, and inclusive economies.
Since our founding in December 2009, we have engaged the help of 55 astoundingly dedicated volunteers and interns in our research, writing, and presentations. A few core volunteers and three part-time staff members with very modest stipends coordinate all these efforts.
Every day, people throughout the country contact SELC to request support, legal advice, and resources. At the same time, we receive innumerable offers of volunteer help, input, and collaboration opportunities. However, limited staff and financial resources challenge our capacity to respond to these service requests and collaboration opportunities. We invite you to consider making a tax-deductible donation to build this capacity and to sustain The Sustainable Economies Law Center's work.
Over the past two years, through the conscientious financial stewardship of shoestring budgets of $30,000 in 2011 and $7,000 in 2010, and the efforts of incredible volunteers and interns, SELC accomplished work of a caliber and significance that caught the eye of national media such as the New York Times and national organizations such as the American Bar Association, which gave SELC a book contract. Your tax-deductible financial support is essential to ensuring that entrepreneurs and communities have access to high-quality legal resources that support the development of resilient and inclusive economies throughout the country. Please donate here. Thank you so much for your support!
Director of Legal Education
|California Homemade Food Act (aka Cottage Food Law) to be introduced in the CA Legislature! |
We are proud to announce Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D - Los Angeles) has committed to working with SELC and our partner organizations--the LA Bread Bakers, the Women's Policy Institute, and Proyecto Jardin -- to pass a "California Homemade Food Act." SELC's wonderful Food Policy Research Associate, Christina Oatfield, began working on this effort over a year ago, and now the bill we drafted is set to be introduced in the State Assembly in early February.
Currently, it is illegal for people to sell foods not produced in a certified commercial kitchen. A cottage food law would enable individuals to sell homemade "non-potentially hazardous foods," meaning foods that do not require refrigeration, such as baked goods, jams, granola, honey, roasted coffee, and dry nut, herb and tea blends. Cottage food laws, which exist in 28 (and counting!) other U.S. states and in every region of the country (rural, urban, red, blue, etc.), open up a new realm of possibility for small-scale enterprise and localized food production. Learn more at www.cottagefood.org.
Here are some ways you can support the campaign:
1) Sign our petition! Let Sacramento know you support a cottage food law. Also, by signing the petition, you'll stay informed since we send out updates via the petition's email signatures.
2) Spread the word! Forward
this to your friends, family, and colleagues or direct them to our website: www.cottagefood.org. 3) Donate to support SELC in our legal research, drafting the bill language, communicating with legislators, and building grassroots support. Please help us raise $4,000 to support the campaign! 4) Do you know of an aspiring entrepreneur or enthusiastic locavore who would like to send us their testimony (via video, audio recording or good old fashioned written letter) to help us convince others that this law would improve local economies and increase access to real, good, slow food? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Eats Goes to Richmond!
In October, SELC teamed up with the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) of the East Bay Community Law Center, Students for Economic and Environmental Justice (SEEJ), and a group of volunteer attorneys to offer Legal Eats, a workshop and legal advice clinic for small and sustainable food enterprises in the East Bay. Legal Eats was a great success, drawing over 50 people to the workshop and 16 clients to the clinic.
On February 23, from 6-8:30 pm, SELC, GC3, and SEEJ will offer another workshop in Richmond, in partnership with Terry Baird, the City of Richmond's new consultant on worker cooperative development. Like before, the workshop will be followed by a series of legal advice clinics in late February. Click here for more information on the upcoming Legal Eats!
Fresno Refugee Farmer Project
Over the past year, SELC has been researching the employment law barriers to cooperative enterprise and family farming. Over 1300 Hmong and Lao family farms operate in and around Fresno. Many of them face costly fines due primarily to the involvement of family members in farm work, and due to cooperative labor exchanges among farmers (old fashioned "barnraising"). From now until May, SELC has a wonderful team of four Berkeley Law students who are: 1) Developing instructional materials and videos for farmers, 2) Developing sample partnership agreements and other legal documents for farmers to use in overcoming certain legal barriers, 3) Researching the legal arguments that may be helpful to farmers, and 4) Developing educational materials for the public and policy-makers. SELC needs to raise $4000 to fund our travel to Fresno in coming months, which includes a presentation at the National Hmong American Farmers Conference, and to support the translation of educational videos in the Hmong language. If you are interested in supporting this particular project, please email Janelle Orsi at Janelle.SELC@gmail.com, or make a donation by clicking here.
|Thank you Rainbow Grocery Cooperative! |
Thanks to a generous grant from
Rainbow Grocery Cooperative
, SELC is partnering with the Green-Collar Communities Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center to develop a Spanish-English bilingual legal workshop
and legal clinic
for green-collar worker cooperatives
in Richmond/Oakland. To be offered in the spring, the bilingual workshop and clinic will address the legal issues that worker cooperatives must consider, including employment and labor law, business law, governance, tax law, and securities law.
The clinic will provide one-on-one legal assistance to between 6 and 12 workshop participants who are considering forming or transitioning to the worker cooperative model.
Urban Agriculture Legal Resource Library
The Urban Agriculture Legal Resource Library is well underway with new leadership, a growing team of researchers, and the exciting plan to launch the site in June 2012! Once public, the library will be a hub for both practicing and aspiring urban agriculturalists to organize and learn about barriers to community-level food production across the country. The library is divided into 12 major sections: Planning & Zoning, Animals/Livestock, Non-Profit Urban Agriculture Issues & Models, For-Profit Urban Agriculture Issues and Models, Building Codes, Access to Land, Water, Soil, Employment Law, Food Agriculture Health & Safety Laws, Private Land Use Controls, and Liability Risk & Insurance. Site users will be able to navigate the library by topic and by location to find information, including best practices, case studies, legal precedents, policy updates, news stories, recommended resources, and local contacts.
This will be the first resource of its scale and comprehensiveness dedicated to the promotion, expansion, and preservation of urban agriculture in the U.S. What's more is that once SELC's researchers launch the library this year, users of the site will become its editors! Following a model much like Wikipedia's, the majority of the legal resource library's content will be crowd-sourced, derived from the growing networks of people practicing and pushing for urban agriculture in every region of the U.S. Our goal is to make the library your one-stop shop for up-to-date urban agriculture information and policy developments from the frontlines.
Are you interested in getting involved in this exciting project? We are looking for more researchers! Please contact Yassi Eskandari at email@example.com for more information.
Rethinking Home Program Update
SELC's Rethinking Home Program has primarily focused on developing case studies of economically sustainable housing models. Currently, SELC has two volunteers working on new case studies. SELC Research Associate Julie Pennington is writing a profile on an ecovillage in development, Dandelion Village in Bloomington, Indiana. Attorney Jake Durrell is writing a profile on Champlain Valley Cohousing in Vermont. SELC is always looking for volunteers to take on additional case studies. If you are interested in taking on a case study project, please contact Janelle Orsi at janelle.SELC@gmail.com.
Barter/Local Currency Program Update
SELC is excited to have Janelle Smith re-join our team part-time for two months starting in mid-February. As a law student intern law year, Janelle S. researched the constitutional law issues affecting the creation of local currencies, the tax implications of barter, and securities law. She has gone on to become an attorney and start her own law practice in Oakland. We are privileged to have her assistance in re-invigorating SELC's work on barter economies and local currencies. Janelle S. will spearhead the creation of a Wiki Resource Library on the topic and in convening a Working Group to further SELC's work in the area.