Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Boston Public Market have just announced that the Boston Public Market will receive pro bono legal assistance through CLF's new Legal Services Food Hub.
The Legal Services Food Hub is a project of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). CLF recruits attorneys to participate in the Legal Services Food Hub and manages the project. After receiving requests for legal assistance from food businesses and organizations, CLF reaches out to the Legal Services Food Hub attorney network and matches the participant with a skilled lawyer who will provide pro bono legal services.
"Every successful business needs legal help, but costly legal services are not affordable for many farmers and food entrepreneurs," said Jennifer Rushlow, Staff Attorney and Director of Farm and Food Initiative, Conservation Law Foundation. "We're excited to be working with the Boston Public Market to support a place where dozens of food growers and producers can sell their wares, connecting urban residents with the New England agricultural economy."
Attorneys from Nixon Peabody will advise the Boston Public Market during lease negotiations with the over 40 permanent, year-round vendors who will sell locally produced items such as farm fresh produce; meat and poultry; cheese; fish and shellfish; bread and baked goods; flowers; and an assortment of specialty and prepared foods at the market, which will open in summer 2015. The Boston Public Market will also help connect vendors in need of legal assistance with the Legal Services Food Hub's network of attorneys.
"We're so grateful that the Legal Services Food Hub was able to match us with Nixon Peabody," said Liz Morningstar, CEO of the Boston Public Market. "By connecting farmers and food entrepreneurs in Massachusetts with expert legal advice, the Legal Services Food Hub allows these small food businesses to expand, professionalize, and focus on their real work--growing and producing fresh local food."
Vendor selection for the Boston Public Market is an ongoing, robust, multi-stage process that involves a variety of stakeholders, including Boston Public Market staff, industry experts, community members and national consultants. The Boston Public Market is still accepting Intent to Apply Letters in key vendor categories.
"We're thrilled to be helping the Boston Public Market negotiate leases with vendors from around Massachusetts and New England, allowing these local food businesses to sell directly to customers in Boston," said Jennifer Simon Lento, an Associate at Nixon Peabody. "Participating in the Legal Services Food Hub is a great way for the legal community to contribute to the growth of our local food economy."
The Legal Services Food Hub already helps several Massachusetts farmers, food entrepreneurs, and farm/food organizations, including CropCircle Kitchen (CCK), which operates Boston's only shared-use commercial kitchen and culinary business incubator. CCK is currently partnering with the Boston Public Market to offer contract processing options to market vendors and to facilitate connections between market vendors and other Boston-area food businesses.
"CLF's Legal Services Food Hub has been a great partner for CropCircle Kitchen and many of the businesses we serve. They've connected us with tremendous legal expertise on everything from basic business entity formation to complex tax and equity investment structuring, and even assistance with hiring and labor issues," said CCK Executive Director Jen Faigel. "They're a terrific partner for any small food business who wants to expand their operations and serve more customers."
"Farmers and food entrepreneurs are critical to the health of our communities, the preservation of our environment, and the growth of our economy," said Rushlow. "When they are successful, we all benefit, and this is a way that members of the legal community can help."
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) manages the Legal Services Food Hub to help farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations access free legal assistance for their transactional legal needs, such as land acquisition/transfer, estate issues, taxes, contracts, and corporate formation, among others. Visit the Legal Services Food Hub at legalservicesfoodhub.org.