Neil Thapar

Neil Thapar

Food and Farm Attorney

neil@theselc.org

 

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As lead for Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Food and Farm Program, Neil researches, promotes, and advises on alternative legal structures of ownership that promote affordability, community ownership, and long-term sustainable stewardship. From worker-owned farms to community land trusts to land cooperatives, Neil supports the development of a racially just food and farm system that de-centers the individual and re-centers the collective. He builds partnerships with a wide range of organizations to learn about and address legal and policy challenges to achieving transformative change.

Neil is an ally-member of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative, a statewide group of farmers and advocates focused on empowering farmers of color to participate and represent themselves in California's food and farm system. From 2014-2016, Neil led the Law Center's Save Seed Sharing campaign, successfully protecting people’s rights to share seeds with each other. In 2014, Neil led the legislative campaign to pass the Neighborhood Food Act, expanding access to backyard food production for tenants and homeowners in planned developments. He also coordinates one of the Law Center's e-resource websites, UrbanAgLaw.org, which is a library of plain-English legal information related to urban agriculture.

Aside from his roles at the Law Center, Neil is a member of the Oakland Food Policy Council and serves on its Executive Committee, where he focuses on local advocacy to promote a more just and equitable local food system through economic empowerment in the food economy. He also served as a volunteer legal advisor for Kitchen Table Advisors from 2013-2017, a nonprofit organization that provides business consulting services to small-scale, sustainable farms in the Bay Area. In 2013, Neil researched and authored several case studies on social justice in agriculture for inclusion in the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems’ farm apprenticeship curriculum. He also holds a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture for completing the same apprenticeship in 2012. Neil earned a B.A. in Economics and International Area Studies from UCLA, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Roles at Sustainable Economies Law Center

Program Areas

Food and Farm

  • Circle Coordinator
  • Community Cultivator
  • UrbanAgLaw.org
  • Save Seed Sharing Campaign Lead
  • Neighborhood Food Act Campaign Lead

Operations Areas

Administration

  • Legal Compliance Manager

Financial Accountability

  • Budget Bear
  • Expenditure Request Coordinator
  • Expense Tracker

 

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Publications

Personal Interests

  • Sleeping outdoors

  • Being around animals

  • Playing basketball

Education and Training

  • Bar Admission: California

  • J.D. - University of California, Hastings (2011)

  • B.A. - Economics/International Area Studies (Latin America), University of California, Los Angeles (2007)

  • Certificate in Ecological Horticulture, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, University of California, Santa Cruz (2012)

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: