What will it take to Build a Local Food Movement?

Photo: chicagopatchworkfarms.com

Lauren Gurley of In These Times writes about what's needed to build a local, sustainable food movement in Chicago and Illinois. A Sustainable Economies Law Center event in Chicago that brought together a stakeholders in the local food movement is mentioned. 

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Three Hippies and an Oven, 2.0 - a Karin Wells documentary

Alvarado St. Bakery is a worker-owned bakery in Petaluma, California that produces 50,000 loaves of bread a day.

Photo: Alvarado St. Bakery in Petaluma, California (Karin Wells)

Karin Wells of CBC Radio explores the spread of worker cooperatives in the Bay Area. Sustainable Economies Law Centers' Worker coop legislation is mentioned, and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, SELC's Policy Director, is quoted. 

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Calling all fans of local seed in California!

The California Seed Exchange Democracy Act will be up for a vote in the State Senate Agriculture Committee on June 21. We need your help to pass this bill to legalize seed sharing!

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Energy transition is inevitable, #PeoplePower is not.

There's not a day to waste. As we approach the summer of 2016, the pace of climate change and the shrinking window to halt it is alarming. But at the same time, the tireless work of defiantly hopeful activists and community members like you has also meant that we are closer today to a more inspiring solution to break free from an extractive economy: community-owned clean energy.

It is clear that every day counts in the shift to a regenerative economy, so at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) we've expanded our effort to promote community energy. But we need your help to sustain our work. Donate now to help create people-powered economies where people own and control the energy they need!

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Forming a Worker Coop: LLC or Cooperative Corporation?

By Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Housing and Cooperatives Attorney

We want to create a worker cooperative…what legal entity should we form?

This is probably the most common question I hear at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafes. Lots of entrepreneurs come to us wanting to form a worker-owned business, but they are unsure what legal structure will work best for them. Are they required to form as a cooperative corporation? What if they’re not ready to incorporate yet? Can they form as an LLC or some other entity and still be a cooperative? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the entity options?

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How can people-powered solutions build community wealth?

We launched our #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign exactly two weeks ago and the response has been incredible: $19,365 raised and our community of members has grown to over 150 people! This is what a people-powered economy looks like - resourcing our movements from the bottom up. Thank you to everyone who has pitched in already! If you haven’t yet, there’s still time - join us today and help us raise $30k in 30 days!

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Help Create People-Powered Housing!

At the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), we believe that housing should be a community asset and a human right, not a commodity on the speculative market. Skyrocketing housing costs are propelling more people into poverty than ever and displacing residents and local businesses, especially in communities of color. We need #PeoplePoweredEconomies where housing is sustainable, controlled by community, and affordable for every member of society. Learn more about SELC’s Housing Program here.

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Update on the new homemade food bill!

By Christina Oatfield, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Policy Director

 

I recently blogged about new legislation seeking to expand the legal scope of the sales of homemade meals and we at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) co-hosted a town hall about it last Wednesday, April 20. Here’s a continuation on that story with some major updates and reflections on the future of homemade food in California….

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#PeoplePoweredEconomies: It's time to change the rules!

When we started the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) almost seven years ago, it was inspired by the vision that communities everywhere should create and control the resources and relationships they need to live well. We've traveled a long way toward that vision since then, but wealth inequality, housing insecurity, and climate change certainly haven't gone away. It's time to change the rules. It's time for a People Powered Economy!
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California Bill Would Make Investing in Local Businesses Easier

Photo: Marcin Wichary (CC-BY) 

Cat Johnson of Shareable writes about the Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) and what it could do for investors and entrepreneurs in California. 

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CA Local Economies Securities Act Passes Through the Banking and Finance Committee -- Will Open Doors for Small Enterprises to Raise Capital

Contact: Christina Oatfield, (415) 8285627, Christina@theselc.org

OAKLAND, CA.— Sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the California Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) passed through the CA Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. LESA will exempt certain securities offerings from California permit requirements, and therefore open doors to raising capital for a variety of enterprises necessary to the economic and ecological health of California, including small farms, agricultural land trusts, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations with business income, and renewable energy systems. It was introduced by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown.

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Are you as politically active as a 4th grader?

April’s always an exciting time for me! The legislative session is in full gear, which means that I’m engaging with partners and legislators and speaking up for policies to support stronger local food and agricultural economies. Earth Day is right around the corner and the spring rain reminds me that the seeds I’ve planted are ready to sprout.

Speaking of seeds, we recently had a hearing for our bill to protect seed sharing, the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act (AB 1810). It passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, in part due to the work of these excellent advocates and official sponsors of the bill!

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Home-cooking markets like Josephine seek regulation

Renée McGhee sprinkles brown sugar on bread pudding as she bakes in her kitchen in Berkeley. She works with Josephine. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle

Photo Credit Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle

Carloyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about regulations around selling home-cooking in California, and the movement to change regulations to allow platforms like Josephine to operate legally. SELC Policy Director, Christina Oatfield, is quoted in the article. 

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A New Homemade Food Act

In late February of this year California State Assemblymember Cheryl Brown introduced AB 2593, a bill to legalize the sales of homemade food, including hot meals, within certain limits. The bill would provide a dramatic expansion of California citizens’ ability to legally sell homemade food. Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) was heavily involved in advocating for the California Homemade Food Act of 2012, a.k.a the cottage food law, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto. So we wanted to post about this new bill, although SELC is not sponsoring or supporting it at this time.

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SELC Policy Director Interviewed about Grassroots Finance and Farmland Programs

Christina_Oatfield_profile_picture.jpgIn anticipation of the Community Capital Conference coming up in Portland, Oregon, movers and shakers in the local economy and community investing realms are being interviewed about what they are looking forward to discussing and learning.

SELC's Policy Director Christina Oatfield spoke with Hatch Oregon's Hatch the Future podcast about our Grassroots Finance and Farmland programs, our Local Economies Securities Act legislation, the early development of SELC, and her own path to becoming a lawyer without going to law school.

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