MSU College of Law

The Food Law Clinic's Statement of Purpose

The Food Law Clinic, administered as part of Michigan State University College of Law’s Legal Clinic, is a multifaceted law school course committed to providing sophisticated counseling and transactional services to nonprofit entities or low-income persons developing or working in various phases of urban agriculture, primarily in Detroit, Michigan. The clinic addresses a full range of urban agriculture law issues, and not only provides direct assistance to others, but also engages in research, policy development, educational outreaches, and public programming. Enrolled law students are dedicated to obtaining the best possible outcomes for their assigned work, which occurs under the supervision of experienced legal professionals and faculty. Students work closely or partner with other participants in Detroit’s urban agriculture setting to delineate, analyze, and resolve legal issues surrounding planned agricultural initiatives, as well as to ensure the development of accessible and wholesome food markets that will enhance the health of Detroit residents.

Among the types of legal matters the Food Law Clinic may address are:

  • Evaluating the language of current state legislation and municipal ordinances and their impact on urban agriculture endeavors
  • Assisting those who wish to use urban land for agricultural purposes with environmental concerns
  • Consulting with nonprofit entities working in the urban agriculture area about their legal needs and drafting legal documents as required
  • Forming a food or farm related business, nonprofit, or cooperative
  • Licensing or certification with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Complying with guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Drafting contracts, memoranda of understanding, and other agreements pertinent to an agriculture, food, or farm issue
  • Helping your business or organization abide by organic regulation and certification requirements
  • Interpreting, contesting, and complying with local zoning ordinances
  • Purchasing or selling real property in the state of Michigan