News

New Legal Advocacy Hub to Target Corporate Control Over the Food System

For immediate release: September 20, 2023

Contact: Shane Tan, shane.tan@berlinrosen.com

FarmSTAND, the first legal advocacy organization devoted solely to dismantling corporate agriculture, will drive precedent-setting impact litigation and community-centered supports

Sep. 20, 2023 – Today, litigators, food system experts and community advocates announced a new organization, FarmSTAND, to address the harms of corporate-controlled industrial agriculture and advance a just and regenerative food system. FarmSTAND, which was founded as the Food Project at Public Justice, will move forward as a separate organization to drive precedent-setting litigation and mobilize a nationwide network of volunteer attorneys representing communities impacted by corporate agriculture.

“Traditional litigation has delivered major victories by concentrating resources on certain cases that can change precedents, but this model hasn’t always addressed the immediate needs of the farmers, workers and other communities most impacted by pollution and exploitation within our current system,” said Jessica Culpepper, FarmSTAND Executive Director. “FarmSTAND works in courtrooms and communities to ensure that litigation supports the true goals of communities in the movement. We drive litigation and build power in communities so that together, we can advance a food system that is sustainable for all people and the planet.”

FarmSTAND emerged from community feedback about the lack of legal resources in the food and farm justice movement and the need for a new organization focused solely on the industrial animal agriculture system. FarmSTAND’s attorneys and legal partners have already filed dozens of cases across every movement sector and area of law. The team has secured important wins, including bolstering consumer rights by exposing Hormel Foods’ deceptive advertising and filing the first case to establish that workers can use the courts to compel OSHA to protect them.

“We go toe-to-toe with big-money corporations every day as we tackle food and farm issues. We’re always looking to partner with smart, savvy public interest attorneys because it boosts our ability to fight the good fight and get things done,” said Hugh Espey, community organizer and strategic adviser for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “FarmSTAND understands the essential role of people power and grassroots community organizing in creating progressive social change. We’re excited to work with them to fight back against corporate power and fight for a farm and food system that’s good for family farmers, workers, eaters and the environment.”

FarmSTAND is supporting lawyers and communities at a time where a handful of corporations have seized unprecedented control over all aspects of the food system and shaped laws that let them exploit animals and the environment, as well as workers and consumers – especially people of color.

“Suing food corporations as an individual practitioner is often a ‘David vs. Goliath’ experience. When your opponent has exponentially more resources, you have to be creative and resourceful,” said Elisabeth Holmes, experienced community litigator and senior counsel at Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP). “FarmSTAND will provide tools and connections to level the playing field and help meet the needs of workers, farmers, and residents plagued by pollution and abuse of laws and power. FarmSTAND will also drive major litigation that will shift the landscape over time to yield future victories.”

About FarmSTAND

FarmSTAND is the first legal advocacy organization devoted solely to dismantling the corporate-controlled, industrial food system and rebuilding a food system that is regenerative and equitable. FarmSTAND exists to bring together the experience of frontline communities and the expertise of legal advocates to build power and change the system from the ground up. 

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