The Food and Agriculture Clinic equips students with practical skills to be sustainable food and agriculture advocates and entrepreneurs. Student-clinicians work with VLS faculty and local, regional and national partners to develop and disseminate legal resources that provide support and solutions for legal, business and policy initiatives of new food movement stakeholders, including farmers, food producers, food entrepreneurs, consumers, health care professionals, legislators and advocates.

We are unique. Only a handful of law clinics nation-wide are exclusively dedicated to food & agriculture. We are the first and only law clinic in the country to practice and teach food systems advocacy and social entrepreneurism as combined disciplines.

We create:

  • Guides and toolkits providing business, legal and policy solutions;
  • Templates and models for innovative business practices, policies and laws;
  • Websites, infographics and surveys aggregating information on important food and agriculture issues; and, among other things, 
  • Public comments on proposed regulations.

Our approach is systemic, collaborative, interdisciplinary and socially entrepreneurial. Our projects aim to help many at once, not one at a time. To achieve this goal, we collaborate with local, regional, national and international partners who bring complementary expertise and networks to the project table, including NGOs, government agencies, businesses, academic institutions, and state and national associations. We seek to mobilize social entrepreneurial strategies in our systems-advocacy efforts.

Clinic Projects

  • Farmers Market Toolkit.  Driven by a four-year, half-million dollar USDA grant, we're collaborating with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT and the national Farmers Market Coalition to create and nationally disseminate Farmers Market Governance Toolkits – guides that will help farmers market managers across the United States navigate common but complicated legal and business choices related to governance, risk management, and SNAP/EBT systems.  Through this project, we aim to support the growth of local and regional agricultural and food systems, and to promote food security and the public health.  
     
  • Farmland Tenure Toolkit.  With USDA support, we're collaborating with New Hampshire-based Land for Good and BCM Environmental & Land Law PLLC to create and disseminate a New England Farmland Tenure Toolkit.  This innovative on-line toolkit will serve as a "one-stop-shop" for beginning and established farmers, landowners, and farmer/landowner-advocates seeking legal information regarding how best to secure and hold access to farmland in New England.  Through this project, we again aim to support the infrastructural growth of local and regional agricultural and food systems.

  • Farm to School Legislative Survey.  Supported by a grant from Newman's Own, we're also collaborating with the Washington, D.C.-based National Farm to School Network to develop an updated national survey of state Farm to School related legislation.  The survey will help legislators, school administrators, and farm to school advocates understand how to create and support robust farm to school programs through state legislation.  This project promotes local and regional food and agriculture systems, food security, and the public health.

For more information, or to apply to be a student clinician, please contact clinic supervisor Jamie Renner at jrenner@vermontlaw.edu.