Spring Break Pro Bono Trip to Mississippi Delta

The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs offers students the opportunity to conduct pro bono work during spring break through organized group trips. This year, students will travel to the Mississippi Delta region from March 21-28. 

Information Session

Tuesday, February 10
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Austin East

Project Information

The State of Mississippi usually ranks at the bottom of the U.S. in terms of health and economic status. Expanding the local production and sale of diverse fruits and vegetables would not only allow people to improve their health status by eating a balanced and healthier diet, but would also provide an opportunity for economic development and advancement of the region. Farmers’ markets are a recent development in this region and are still struggling to survive and expand. The Institute for Community-Based Research at Delta State University is working with managers of other regional farmers’ markets to help them improve their markets and assess their needs and any barriers to the success of the markets. Many of the managers expressed a lack of understanding about legal issues facing farmers’ markets, such as incorporation, licensing, insurance, and sales tax among others. 

Students will work with the Institute to provide pro bono assistance and advice to local farmers’ markets on the following issues:

  •  Incorporation, including nonprofit incorporation, for-profit incorporation, or joining an existing nonprofit organization as a subsidiary
  • Market liability insurance
  • How/when to charge sales tax on items sold
  • Licensing & permit issues
  • Organic foods certification
  • Drafting farmer’s market by-laws or rules
  • Food handling & safety regulations
  • Labeling, marketing & warranties
  • Negotiating agreements with growers and/or other markets 

Six to eight students will work together to compile information about these issues into a manual that could be used by these and other farmers’ markets in Mississippi. The manual will also provide other information for farmers’ market managers, including contact information for relevant nonprofit organizations or state agencies and information about funding or technical assistance available to small growers or farmers’ markets. Students will also do a comparison of other states and recommend “best practices” and agricultural, small business, and public health policies used in other states that might be applied in Mississippi to foster small growers and farmers’ markets. This program would be managed jointly by the Institute for Community-Based Research at Delta State University and by Emily Broad, who works in the Mississippi Delta as a fellow through Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center and Harvard Law School. Students will also get to visit a local farm and work with local lawyers for assistance on this project. For more information visit www.deltadirections.org

HLS will cover the cost of hotels and rental cars for the group. Students pay for airfare of less than $300. 

Click here to download an application

Please submit the completed application and a resume to Lee Branson (Austin 107, lbranson@law.harvard.edu) by Monday, February 16. Decisions will be announced by February 20, and selected students must commit by February 27.

Last modified: July 17, 2010

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