Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative COVID-19 Legal Support
July 21, 2020
The global coronavirus has brought uncertainty and anxiety into people’s lives, workplaces, and neighborhoods, particularly for those who work to improve the health of our communities.
During this difficult time, many organizations across New York State are working tirelessly to keep people safe, especially the most vulnerable. In response, NYHealth is supporting statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs in the wake of the pandemic. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative a grant to provide legal services and support to farms and food organizations in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this grant, the Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative provided pro bono legal services and support through its Food and Beverage Law Clinic to farmers and food businesses and organizations in New York State negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Clinic helped clients navigate the growing number of federal, State, and private relief programs. It also developed resources and helped clients face legal challenges, including renegotiating leases and other contracts; facilitating agreements between farmers and hunger relief organizations to redistribute food to those in need; and allowing direct-to-consumer delivery of farm products. Additionally, NRDC advocated for State and federal COVID-19 relief policies that support the regional food system, including expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); investing in local food distribution infrastructure; and ensuring small and medium local farms receive their share of relief dollars.