Eligibility

To view these eligibility guidelines in a language other than English, click one of the buttons below to open a translated PDF document:

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 Organization or Food Organization, provided below:

  • a. Farmer: An individual, group of individuals, or enterprise located in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire or Vermont that predominantly produces agricultural products for sale (includes aquaculture), including farmworkers; OR
  • b. Food Entrepreneur: An individual, group of individuals, or enterprise located in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire or Vermont 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 Organization or Food Organization: a nonprofit operating in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire or Vermont 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, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire or Vermont whose primary mission is to address social justice issues related to the food system (such as a farmers’ market, a community food co-op, or a community garden organization).

* Please note that food carts and 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 a Food Entrepreneur, you must meet the following income criteria:

  • a. The Farmer’s or the Food Entrepreneur’s 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 Farmer’s or the Food Entrepreneur’s enterprise’s net annual income must not exceed $30,000.
    • For Farmers, to determine your enterprise’s net annual income, see line 34 on your Schedule F (Form 1040) tax return.
    • For Food entrepreneurs, to determine your enterprise’s net annual income, refer to 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’s or the 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 (such as in a restricted trust fund). To determine your annual household income, see Line 9 on your personal income tax return (Form 1040). The 2023 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines are available below or click here to read in PDF form. Look for your household size and the “400% FPL” column. For businesses with multiple owners, the business can qualify if all the owners meet the income requirement separately, or together
  • The net income requirement and household income cap do not apply to Farm Organizations or Food Organizations.

2024 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Family Size 400% Federal Poverty Level
1$60,240
2$81,760
3$103,280
4$124,800
5$146,320
6$167,840
7$189,360
8$210,880

To qualify for the Legal Food Hub, your family’s income cannot exceed the amount listed in the right-hand column, when matched with your family size in the left-hand column.

*See the 2024 Federal Poverty Guidelines for more information.


These criteria were 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.