Immigrants...We Get the Job Done!

Immigrant cooperatives across the country are building community wealth. “In today's anti-immigrant context, access to ongoing legal expertise is absolutely essential,” explains Maria Pascual, the director of Prospera. Headquartered in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, Prospera advances economic empowerment of Latina immigrant women by providing cooperative business ownership opportunities.

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Community Controlled Food Systems Never Tasted So Good!

At the Law Center, we’re supporting worker-owned and democratic enterprises that are transforming conventional notions of power, control, and success. This is why we are committed to serving clients like People’s Kitchen Collective, a cooperatively governed food justice enterprise based in Oakland, CA.

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Stopping Displacement in Oakland Through Cooperative Solutions

Two years ago, amidst the growing housing and homelessness crisis and a lack of visionary leadership in Oakland City Hall, Noni Session decided to take action.

“One of the realizations that came out of our canvassing work was that we need a cooperative economy. We need to govern ourselves because we cannot depend on our leaders right now,” Noni says.

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Dear Diary, Women and Immigrants Are Getting It Done!

I took up journaling last year, and…WOW.

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Guess Who's Coming for Dinner

Gig Economy Workers Barely Getting ByHave you noticed how many tech start-ups are interested in food these days? We have. There are dozens of apps that deliver food right to your door (either by a human being or sometimes even by a robot) and you can order take-out, groceries, or partially prepared meals with a few taps on your phone.

At the Sustainable Economies Law Center, we support creativity and innovation in many ways, one of which is to uplift homemade food enterprises. So, it wasn’t easy to come to our decision to not support AB 626. AB 626 is a bill that was drafted at the behest of tech company executives and lobbyists to prioritize their interests above the interests of home cooks and consumers. After being stalled for several months, the bill passed a vote of the full Assembly in January and will soon be up for a vote in the Senate Health Committee.

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Who Can Make Policy? (March 2018 Newsletter)

A while back we asked ourselves, who can make policy? Our answer: EVERYONE! 

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We're Hiring! Applications due March 7th!

That's right! We're looking for a Bay Area resident interested in a full-time position (which we define as 30 hours per week), to join our dynamic, democratic, and delightful organization. 

We're Hiring! And we have lots of feelings about that. Mostly good ones.

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The Future of Homemade Food is at Risk

By Christina Oatfield, Policy Director //

Have you noticed how many tech start-ups are interested in food these days? We have. There are now dozens of apps you can use to order food to be delivered to your door -- either by a human being or sometimes even by a robot. You can order take-out, groceries, or partially prepared meals through apps. And, as we’ve previously written about on our Food News Blog, there are now on-demand pick-up and delivery apps for homemade food. We are worried about what this means for home cooks, eaters, and the broader food system.

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California Could Allow People To Sell Meals Made In Their Home Kitchen

By Julia Watts for CBS SF Bay Area

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Excerpt: Christina Oatfield, of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, says she’s all for giving home cooks more opportunities to use their skills.

“There are so many people who have an interest in selling homemade food,” Oatfield said.

But she wants those who do the actual cooking to get a bigger share of the pie, not the third-parties enabling them to sell.

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Permanently Affordable Housing: Challenges and Potential Paths Forward

By Julie Gilgoff, Legal Fellow //

While billion dollar development companies eat up affordable housing units throughout the Bay Area, dedicated teams of organizers, nonprofit service providers, community development corporations, and others fight a relentless battle along side and on behalf of those at threat of displacement. Some are seeking to transform the current system of land ownership, removing profit incentives, and assuring that the land is used for the benefit of longtime community residents.

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A Bird's-Eye View of 2017

2017 was a rough year, but communities continued to come together and build people-powered economies. We want to share the work we did this year at the Sustainable Economies Law Center, and give you a few reasons to stay radically hopeful!

Below is our 2017 Annual Report highlighting the progress we've made toward a more democratic and equitable economy. (Click the image below to see a full-sized PDF!) All of this was accomplished in deep partnership with people and groups JUST LIKE YOU! Here's to flying far together in 2018 and beyond. 

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Launching the Nonprofit Democracy Network

By Simon Mont, Organizational Design Fellow //

How can nonprofits and movement workers committed to social transformation embody the change we want to see and become more effective, accountable, and equitable as we do it? In late September 2017, thirty-eight people from eighteen different organizations based in ten different states came together to answer this question and learn how to effectively govern, manage, and coordinate their organizations. Over three days, the gathered organizations each contributed to training, knowledge sharing, and relationship building to prepare the soil for a vibrant community of support for these organizations and more long into the future: it was the beginning of the Nonprofit Democracy Network (NPDN).

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Worker Cooperative Policy Group Successfully Passes New Law

A team of worker cooperative members, stewarded by the Sustainable Economies Law Center, successfully amended California State's worker's compensation law in favor of worker cooperatives. The law, SB 189, includes a provision that allows cooperatives to claim exemption from workers' compensation requirements under certain conditions. SB 189 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last month and will go into effect July 1, 2018. 

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Stranger things...

Three years ago we set out to make it possible for communities to own their energy. And boy did we run into some strange things along the way!

Before introducing those peculiarities, first some background: If people could own their energy, they’d be more secure - both financially and infrastructurally. We could save money and increase our ability to bounce back after natural disasters by producing clean, decentralized energy in our own communities. If ordinary people could put their money toward renewables, instead of investing in fossil fuels on Wall Street, we’d also speed up our response to climate change.

Wall St to Cooperative St

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CA Farmer Equity Act Signed Into Law

Sacramento, California – Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that would require California officials to focus on and address the challenges facing farmers of color in the state by making access to state and federal resources more equitable. This comes at a critical moment as the current generation of farmers is retiring and new farmers are increasingly represented by people of color, including immigrants and refugees.

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