Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the Legal Food Hub, participants must satisfy the following requirements:

1. You must fit the definition of a Farmer, Food Entrepreneur, or Farm/Food Organization, provided below:

  • a. Farmer: An individual, group of individuals, or enterprise located in Maine, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island who/that predominantly produces agricultural products for sale (includes aquaculture); OR
  • b. Food Entrepreneur: An individual, group of individuals, or enterprise located in Maine, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island who/that processes, distributes, aggregates, stores, or markets food or value-added food products for human consumption, and sources at least one food item or ingredient grown in New England;* OR
  • c. Farm/Food Organization: a nonprofit operating in Maine, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island whose primary purpose is to support Farmers or Food Entrepreneurs (e.g., a trade association in support of farmers or a nonprofit food hub), OR a community group or association operating in Maine, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island whose primary mission is to address social justice issues related to the food system (e.g., a farmers’ market, a community food co-op, or a community garden organization).

* Please note that food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants typically do not satisfy the Food Entrepreneur definition for purposes of this program unless they are part of a venture with a broader social justice mission.

2. If applying for legal assistance as a Farmer or Food Entrepreneur,* you must meet the following income criteria:

  • a. The farm or food enterprise must have an annual revenue of at least $5,000 in the prior tax year OR have started operating within the last three years; AND 
  • b. The farm or food enterprise’s net annual income must not exceed $30,000. For farms, to determine your enterprise’s net annual income, see line 34 on your Schedule F (Form 1040) tax return. For food entrepreneurs reference the following: sole proprietorships or LLCs taxed as such, see line 31 on Schedule C (Form 1040); partnerships or LLCs taxed as such, see line 22 on Form 1065; C Corporations, see line 30 on Form 1120; S Corporations, see line 21 on Form 1120S; AND
  • c. The Farmer or Food Entrepreneur’s annual household income must not exceed 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Unearned income must be included in this calculation, even if the income is restricted (e.g., in a restricted trust fund). To determine your annual household income, see Line 37 on your personal income tax return (Form 1040). The 2017 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines are available here. If the business is co-owned, owners may satisfy our income cap if either their joint household incomes combined fall under our cap (accounting for the number of persons in the total, now combined household), or if each individual owner’s household income falls below our cap.

* The net income requirement and household income cap do not apply to Farm/Food Organizations.

These criteria were recently revised on May 21, 2015. They are designed to capture lower-income Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs, and those farms and businesses operating on a small- to medium-scale. We welcome feedback on these eligibility requirements.

These eligibility criteria will guide CLF’s decision-making; however, CLF reserves the right to make case-by-case decisions, including declining to place cases if need be.