By Elena Mihaly
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) would like to announce the launch of a new project under our Farm & Food Initiative called the Legal Services Food Hub. The Legal Services Food Hub is a free legal services clearinghouse for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations. CLF is piloting the Legal Services Food Hub in Massachusetts with an initial focus on cases involving transactional issues, such as land acquisition/transfer, estate issues, taxes, contracts, and corporate formation, among others. For example, if you’re a farmer considering transitioning your farm to the next generation, we could match you with an estate planning attorney. Likewise, if you’re a farmer interested in entering into a purchase agreement for new land, we could find you a real estate attorney to represent you during the land transaction. Involving an attorney can help farmers avoid unforeseen liabilities, draft enforceable contracts, negotiate sound lease agreements, and effectively navigate other legal transactions.
The Legal Services Food Hub serves farmers, food entrepreneurs, and nonprofit or community organizations formed for the purpose of supporting farmers and food entrepreneurs. To ensure that these free services are going to those most in need, participating farmers and food entrepreneurs are subject to an income cap: the gross sales of the business must not exceed $75,000, and the applicant’s household income must not exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Limit. A chart with the 2014 Federal Poverty Limits can be found at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/14poverty.cfm.
CLF plans to expand this project to additional New England states after the Massachusetts pilot. Please call the Legal Services Food Hub Coordinator with any questions at (617) 850-1744, or visit our website to learn more at www.legalservicesfoodhub.org.