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!
Seed Advocates from Olive Elementary
SELC was joined in the committee hearing by the 4th grade class at Olive Elementary School, a group of 68 bright young students who attended and testified at the hearing for AB 1810, after learning about seed saving and the democratic process in class earlier in the semester. Two young representatives of the class testified in front of the Agriculture Committee emphasizing that seed saving is an important part of providing communities with access to healthy, affordable food, preserving genetic diversity, and supporting cultural cohesion. I was really just a backup singer at the hearing.
Students make compelling arguments for seed sharing
In the end, our bill passed out of committee by a vote of 8-1 and is on its way through the rest of the legislative process. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and hurdles to overcome before we can safely say that seed sharing is protected in California. One thing I can be sure about is that each of those students now knows that they can use their voice to make the world a better place.
It’s no wonder that April makes me feel hopeful!
Thanks for reading,
Neil Thapar, Food & Farm Attorney
Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, May-June in the East Bay
The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe provides direct legal advice, workshops, teach-ins, discussions, and legal services to businesses and organizations that are trying to make their communities a better place to live and thrive. Come, ask us your questions, and join others from your neighborhood who are taking their livelihoods, communities, and economies back! See dates and locations here.
Think Outside the Boss: How to Create a Worker Owned Business, May 3rd in Oakland, CA
Think Outside the Boss provides community members an introduction to the nuts and bolts of starting and running a cooperatively owned business. We go over legal issues in an accessible way to help you understand the relationships between cooperatives, employment, and community wealth-building. If you are an entrepreneur starting a business, an existing business owner thinking about succession plans, or an existing worker coop looking for a refresher, this training is for you! FREE FOOD AND DRINKS! Find out more and RSVP here.
SELC & East Bay Community Resilience Challenge, May 3rd in Berkeley, CA
Join Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and our allies, the East Bay Community Resilience Challenge (CRC) and NorCal Community Resilience Network for an informal networking event with drinks, snacks, and stories of cultivating community resilience at Comal (just a short walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station)! Find our more and RSVP here.
Rooted in Resilience: Bay Localize 10 Year Anniversary, April 23rd in Oakland, CA
Bay Localize is marking 10 years as an organization building equitable and resilient communities in the Bay Area and beyond, and it’s celebration time! Let's honor our collective movements to preserve quality of life for our people and our planet on Earth Day. Join Bay Localize and friends for a delicious buffet brunch complete with a House Kombucha mimosa bar! Buy Tickets Today!
Community Capital Conference, April 26-28 in Portland, OR
SELC Policy Director Christina Oatfield and SELC Adviser Michael Shuman will be speaking, along with many other local economy movers and shakers! ComCap16 focuses on how to leverage the new state securities crowdfunding laws to strengthen our nation’s local economies. SELC members can use the discount code THESELC for a 20% discount on tickets! Learn more and buy tickets here.
California Co-op Conference, April 29-30 in Sacramento, CA
Several SELC staff and other local coop experts will present more than 25 workshops on governance, communication, policy, and technical topics for cooperatives. Seven of the workshops are MCLE-accredited. Find out more and RSVP here.
2nd Annual Law & Social Change Jam, May 29 - June 2 in Pennsylvania
“Hurt people hurt people,” as the old adage goes. Nowhere is that more evident than in our legal system. But we also believe that “healed people heal people.” Join 30 other community lawyers and legal professionals from across North America for five days of personal exploration, community building, and skill sharing for a more just and resilient world at the second annual Law and Social Change Jam. Read more and apply here - deadline to apply is April 15th (This is TODAY!)