Case Examples

Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture
The Community and Economic Development Clinic's work supports several organizations involved in food security and food justice, and working toward sustainable food systems that are ecologically sound. This work has included:

  • Formation and structuring of a food cooperative.
  • Negotiating a license agreement with the City of Detroit to allow an organization to turn under-utilized city-owned land into an urban farm.
  • Forming an organization that will run an urban farmer's market using locally grown food. The organization holds a seasonal farmer's market providing access to fresh and affordable produce for urban communities. The organization will also provide education and outreach services surrounding food access and security for elderly and low-income community members.  
  • Advising an established organization on corporate governance issues, including revising its bylaws.  
  • Developing liability releases and policies for volunteers who work on an urban farm.
  • Advising an organization on employment issues.

Worker's Rights and Employment Opportunities
The Clinic represents several organizations seeking to improve the working conditions of low-wage workers. This work includes:

  • Forming an organization that will provide job training and other services to workers.
  • Structuring a worker's rights organization that works in the Latino community of Detroit.
  • Forming an organization that represents workers denied unemployment compensation.
  • Researching and advising an organization on compliance issues surrounding federal and state laws governing the classification of independent contractors versus employees.
  • Forming, structuring and advising a group working on youth education and employment.

Real Estate and Land Use
The Clinic:

  • Advised an organization in structuring the purchase of a building that can be shared among several organizations.   
  • Has advised several organizations on zoning and other land-use regulations.
  • Is working with an organization developing a housing cooperative.
  • Negotiated a commercial lease for the Michigan affiliate of a national workers organization that provides job training and leadership development, conducts research and policy work, engages employers to improve their industry, and supports workers in organizing workplace justice campaigns.
  • Advised an organization on whether it is liable for real estate taxes on the space it rents and personal income tax on its equipment.

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