Client Profiles

The Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative (FLI) addresses the unmet legal service needs of farmers, food and beverage entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations seeking to improve our community’s food system. The following are a few clients that the Food and Beverage Law Clinic has represented.
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American Solar Grazing Association

American Solar Grazing Association (“ASGA”) is a new organization founded to promote grazing sheep on solar installations. Solar farms are expanding in size and number nationwide, and the most desirable sites for solar farms are generally in agriculture already. “Solar grazing” reduces or eliminates the need for mowing at solar sites, reducing emissions and costs, while at the same time allows farmers to increase and diversify revenues without taking farmland out of food production. ASGA is developing best practices that support shepherds and solar developers to both effectively manage solar installations and create new agribusiness profits.

The Food and Beverage Law Clinic has represented ASGA in its formation and application for tax exemption as a not-for-profit trade association, as well as in developing model templates for contracts between sheep farmers and solar developers. The Clinic is also representing ASGA on matters relating to labeling and marketing of solar-grazed lamb.

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Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Housed on an operating fruit and vegetable farm in Grafton, NY, the nonprofit organization Soul Fire Farm Institute raises life-giving food and acts in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid, and brings diverse communities together to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health and environmental justice. They are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

The Food and Beverage Law Clinic represented the founders of Soul Fire Farm in developing a cooperative land tenure structure for their land, ultimately leading to the creation of Soul Fire Farm Land Stewardship Collective LLC, an entity organized with cooperative principles.  In 2019, the Clinic assisted in transferring title to the land to Soul Fire Farm Land Stewardship Collective.

*Photo Description: Food and Beverage Law Clinic students with Leah Penniman and Jonah Vitale-Wolff of Soul Fire Farm.  

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Gruvi Juices

Gruvi Juices is a small producer of bottled fruit juices that feature spirulina, a nutrient-rich micro algae. The Food and Beverage Law Clinic has advised Gruvi in connection with its corporate structure and equity arrangements with new partners.

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Black Farmer Fund

Black Farmer Fund is a volunteer-led emerging organization working to launch an alternative, community-driven investment vehicle to invest in the black food system. 

The Food and Beverage Law Clinic has represented Black Farmer Fund in its formation as a nonprofit organization and its fiscal sponsorship arrangement, and is advising on a variety of legal matters relating to the structuring of the community investment vehicle.

*Photo Description: Food and Beverage Law Clinic students with the founders of Black Farmer Fund and friends

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Essex Farm

Essex Farm is a 1,100 acre diversified farm located in the Champlain Valley in Essex, New York. It offers a full-diet, year-round community-supported agriculture (CSA) program with each share providing enough food for an entire family to have three meals a day, seven days a week. 

The Food and Beverage Law Clinic advised the farm on a variety of legal matters relating to its CSA operations, including drafting its CSA membership agreement.

*Photo Description: Food and Beverage Law Clinic student with Mark Kimball, owner of Essex Farm. 

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New York Cider Association

New York Cider Association (“NYCA”) is a trade association created to foster community amongst, and act as the collective voice and organizing body for, apple growers and cider makers throughout New York State. 

On NYCA’s behalf, the Food and Beverage Law Clinic developed a legal guide on state and federal cider regulation that NYCA has provided as a resource for New York cider makers.  The Clinic has also advised NYCA on its advocacy for legislation permitting direct shipment of cider to consumers in New York.

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Somali Bantu Women and Children Empowering Center, Inc.

Somali Bantu Women and Children Empowering Center, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization representing members of Utica, NY’s Somali Bantu refugee community. Refugees and their families represent about 20% of Utica’s residents. The Somali Bantu have endured centuries of oppression and discrimination under various regimes, leading roughly 3,000 Somali Bantu refugees to find their home in Utica. They have a long, rich heritage of farming and have been the backbone of agricultural production in southern Somalia. Working with Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension and other community organizations, members of Utica’s Somali Bantu refugee community have organized to start a community-based farm to preserve their culture’s agricultural heritage, educate their next generation, and provide healthy food to their community.

The Food and Beverage Law Clinic represented the nonprofit in connection with starting the community-based farm, including advising on legal structuring matters and drafting and negotiating their farmland lease.

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SPACE on Ryder Farm

SPACE on Ryder Farm is a non-profit organization that runs an artist residency program located on the grounds of Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York, one of the oldest organic family farms on the East Coast. In addition to hosting artist residents and nurturing young professionals through its intern program, at the beginning of 2019 SPACE took on the organic farming operations at Ryder Farm. Along with providing produce for its residency kitchen, under SPACE's management the farm now serves a sliding-scale CSA membership, continues Ryder Farm's weekly presence at the Union Square Greenmarket and donates unsold produce to local food access organization Second Chance Foods.  The Clinic represented SPACE on the transfer and integration of the organic farming operations into the non-profit organization, including advising on the structuring of the transaction, drafting and negotiating an asset purchase agreement and lease, and representing SPACE at closing.

*Photo Description: Food and Beverage Law Clinic student with Emily Simoness and Nate Koch from SPACE on Ryder Farm.