So You Want to Start a Food Business

Food biz proprietors and other local experts offer their top tips for new food entrepreneurs.

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Profiles in Sharing: Janelle Orsi - The Sharing Economy Lawyer

As a sharing lawyer, Janelle Orsi thought she would write agreements and form organizations. She quickly realized however, that her clients were continually running up against legal barriers that were too high and too difficult for people to navigate. In go-getter fashion, Orsi co-founded, along with attorney Jenny Kassan, the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) to break down some of the legal barriers and help people navigate them.

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SELC Takes Advisory Role in Forming Groundbreaking Sustainable Living Research Ordinance

The Sustainable Living Research Ordinance (SLRO) provides Goleta local government with a regulatory pathway to enable residential sustainability projects and designs otherwise illegal under current law. The ordinance does so by designating a property as a "Sustainable Living Research Site," where practices including natural building, onsite wastewater treatment, and self-sustaining agricultural villages would be permitted uses.

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20 Ways SELC is Changing the World this Summer!

Legal CafeSELC has been working hard since our last newsletter and we want you, our friends and supporters, to know what we've been up to. Read below for 20 exciting ways that SELC has been leading the way towards more just and resilient economies!

1. Legal Cafes

SELC is providing one of the most innovative legal advice clinics in the country, the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. It's 1/3 Legal Advice Clinic, 1/3 Living Classroom, 1/3 Community Building and Collaboration Space! SELC staff and volunteer attorneys provide pay-it-forward legal advice for projects and organizations that build the sharing economy.

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Terra Verde, KPFA: Special on the Legal Barriers to the Sharing Economy

SELC's Director of City Policies and Community Currencies, Yassi Eskandari-Qajar, discusses the sharing economy with host Michelle Chan.

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Top 10 Crusaders in the Food Movement -- Lawyer Edition

1) Janelle Orsi, executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, which hosts regular "legal cafes" to offer free advice for small farmers, food entrepreneurs, and others creating positive alternatives. While their work is localized to California, it's a wonderful model to follow. (See her book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy.) @JanelleOrsi

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Does the Sharing Economy Have a Shadow Side?

Recent legal and regulatory troubles for companies like Airbnb, Lyft and Uber are alerting people to the fact that sharing isn't always rainbows and bunnies.

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California bill to facilitate cooperative ownership of housing passes Assembly Committee

SELC is supporting AB 1024, An Act to facilitate cooperative ownership of housing in California, along with several other organizations around the state. The bill passed unanimously out of the Committee on Housing and Community Development in the California State Assembly last month and is heading towards the Judiciary Committee. Click here to learn more.

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SELC has a new look!

SELC_symbol_colour_RGB(for_screen).jpgThe Sustainable Economies Law Center has been working with an international team (no joke!) to create our new logo that will help shape the look for our eResources websites like Co-opLaw.org, UrbanAgLaw.org, CommunityCurrenciesLaw.org, and more!

Our developer, Timo ten Feld, researched the Sustainable Economies Law Center's efforts, accomplishments, and vision and had this to say about how he came up with SELC's new look: The SELC logo is an "organically grown, vibrant little logo made with a little bit of help from Aotearoa’s beautiful South Island [New Zealand]."

 

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Faces of the Bay Area Cooperatives Movement

At our recent Think Outside The Boss Workshop in Berkeley, we asked participants to tell us what co-ops meant to them. Check out the slideshow above to see the diversity of faces and answers we received.

Cooperatives aren't some utopian, hair-brained, hippie scheme. They support an incredibly diverse range of people from all over our communities, from families (did you see the baby above?) to young entrepreneurs to faith-based communities to immigrants.

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Community Renewable Energy Webinar Tuesday 4/30

It’s time for a new kind of energy. Community renewable energy is clean, small-scale, and owned or sponsored by communities. That's why it creates democratic, resilient energy grids with distributed economic benefits. Join the Sustainable Economies Law Center's expert panelists for a conversation about the legal barriers, policy opportunities, and steps to creating this new energy future.

11:30am - 12:30pm PDT / 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT

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The Care and Feeding of Your Sharing Economy Lawyer

If you’re starting (or thinking of starting) a sharing economy company, there’s a very good chance you’ll wonder at some point: ”Is this actually legal?”

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Share and Share Alike: A Profile of Janelle Orsi

When it comes to sharing with others, Janelle Orsi practices what she preaches. Orsi, an Oakland solo practitioner, specializes in a new niche: “sharing law.” She even wrote the book on it: Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA Books, 2012).

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Share Everything: Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever

The so-called sharing economy has been described as being about many things: Millennials rejecting car ownership, the environmentally conscious glomming onto the latest eco-trend, broke urbanites who will want all their own stuff again as soon as the economy recovers...

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SELC proposes CA Community Currencies Act

We believe that a resilient and just economy includes many diverse forms of exchange, allowing all members of a community to meaningfully participate in the economy and have their gifts valued appropriately. Community currencies are one way of strengthening both local economies and our national economy as a whole, by giving more people access to a means of exchange and thus increasing economic activity in ways that support, rather than destroy, local communities and the natural world.

California Corporation Code Section 107

Currently, California is one of only three states (alongside Virginia and Arkansas) in the USA that potentially prohibit the creation and circulation of local currencies. Dating back to 1849, this law is outdated, vague, and serves little purpose in the complex and dynamic economy of the 21st century.

California’s Corporations Code Section 107 reads:

“No corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States.”

Along with our many friends and supporters across California, SELC is proposing a bill that would remove CA Corporation Code Section 107 because:

  • this law is outdated and if actually enforced, would significantly restrict economic activity in our state
  • there is a growing movement within California, across the country, and around the world to develop more democratic and inclusive means of exchange that will both stabilize and improve our local economies, and
  • community currencies have the potential to provide many underserved communities with access to capital and meaningful opportunities for work that could increase economic activity (and thus tax revenue) in socially and ecologically responsible ways.
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