We want to live in a society where reliable and affordable legal support is available to all those creating the transition to localized, resilient economies.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.
We want to live in a world where the food we eat is produced locally and/or by small-scale, sustainable, community-owned enterprises. We also want to see many more opportunities for people to create rewarding livelihoods working in the production of food. The cornerstone of Sustainable Economies Law Center’s work on sustainable food production is the belief that food enterprises should be owned and/or controlled by the local communities that depend on them.
We want to live in a society where enterprises and assets are owned and controlled by the communities that depend on them for livelihoods, sustenance, and ecological well-being. SELC’s Cooperatives Program works to vastly expand the legal resources available to cooperative enterprises of all types.
We want to live in a world where any project or enterprise can obtain financing from members of the local community, and where the majority of businesses in a community are locally owned and locally financed. Through education, research, and advocacy, SELC is working to develop pathways that overcome securities law barriers to local investing.
We want to live in cities filled with a diversity of micro-enterprises, urban farms, community markets, transportation-sharing, co-housing communities, shared housing options, cooperative enterprises, and a wide variety of economic solutions developed at the grassroots level. Our work includes identifying legal barriers; creating innovative policy recommendations; policy application and piloting; and collaboration with key partners -- keeping SELC on the cutting edge of the resilient cities movement and able to address the evolving legal landscape of the sharing economy.
We want to live in a world where communities can create diverse and satisfying means for people to provide for and exchange with each other. SELC’s Community Currencies Program supports economies based on barter, gifts, time banks, and local currencies by providing legal services, resources, and research on regulatory issues, including tax law, employment law, and securities law.
We want to break barriers to the formation of community-owned renewable energy enterprises. We envision a world where cooperatives and other community enterprises are a catalyst for individuals to engage as planners, decision-makers, and owners of local and community-shared renewable energy generation. We define community renewable energy as power generated by a renewable energy system owned by a community that enables multiple individuals to share collectively in the management and control of the electric system, deriving a financial benefit from lower electric bills, net metering credits and a return on investment.
We envision a world where every person has a home and housing is a right, rather than a commodity. We prioritize working alongside low-income communities and communities of color – those who historically and currently have the least housing security – to develop legal structures and policy mechanisms that remove housing from the speculative marketplace and give communities control over land and housing resources. In particular, we promote cooperative housing, community land trusts, and other cooperative mechanisms for creating truly affordable, community controlled, and ecologically sustainable housing.
SELC wants to live in a world where every town and city has legal professionals providing assistance to urban farms, worker cooperatives, food cooperatives, food cooperatives, car sharing programs, cottage-scale enterprises, housing cooperatives, and other projects that create local ownership and build community resilience. The legal profession must change to keep pace with innovations of the new economy, and SELC would like to help it do that. SELC provides many resources and opportunities to aspiring and current legal professionals.