Funders + Lawyers + Family Farmers = Success
The Farmers Lawyer story of saving 245,000 Family Farms from Illegal Foreclosures in the 1980s and Why Funding Legal Strategies is Crucial
May 25, 2022 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm PDT
This session will tell three stories. The first story is how Sarah Vogel, then a solo practice lawyer in North Dakota, brought a lawsuit against USDA for nine broke farmers that grew into a case that protected 245,000 farmers from illegal practices and unconstitutional foreclosure. She will use her new book, The Farmer’s Lawyer, to explain how a small $15,000 grant from a funder allowed her to do this case. The second story is how Willie Nelson held the first Farm Aid concert and used some of the $7 million in proceeds to help start a non-profit law firm, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, to support farmers with their legal needs. The third story will be how Farm Aid and FLAG have continued this work from the 1980s and how vital this work is to today’s family farm system of agriculture. This session will feature Sarah Vogel, attorney, advocate and author of The Farmer’s Lawyer, Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director of Farm Aid since its inception, Glenda Yoder, Associate Director of Farm Aid, and Stephen Carpenter, Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney of Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG).
- Participants will learn from Sarah Vogel how a small $15,000 grant was instrumental in saving thousands of farmers from unconstitutional foreclosure and starve outs in the Coleman v. Block case, as told in The Farmer’s Lawyer book. All of the speakers will give additional examples of how philanthropic support was vital to grass roots activism in the 1980s, and how important it remains today.
- Participants will be encouraged to keep working on problems that seem insoluble or overwhelming. If the broke farmers in the 1980s could win against the mighty USDA, other “little guys” may be able to win against equally overwhelming odds today.
- Participants will learn how since the 1980s legal support has been a valuable tool in the arsenal of advocacy — from commenting on proposed regulations, to counselling farmers in crisis, to helping minority farmers, and to fashioning solutions to bring a brighter tomorrow.
- Finally, participants will get a sense of optimism and energy about how timely legal support to family farmers and grass roots organizations can be a critical part of resolving problems on land access, racial equity, and solving climate challenges.
Moderator: Carolyn Mugar
This is a FREE event open to all funders. Registration is required.