Boston is becoming a city that supports its food entrepreneurs, and students in the FLPC are playing a major role in accomplishing this feat. For the last year, students in the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and the Harvard Community Enterprise Project of the Transactional Law Clinics (CEP) worked together to create a food truck legal toolkit to help food truck entrepreneurs navigate the variety of legal issues that accompany starting a food truck business in Boston. In early December, the FLPC and CEP completed the toolkit and presented the materials contained in the toolkit to a lively audience of inspiring food truck owners on behalf of the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives (OFI).
FLPC student Jason Qu ‘14 expertly clarified Boston’s food truck permitting and licensing regimes, while CEP students Veronica Sauer ’14 and Josh Wackerly ‘14 guided the attendees through the finer points of business formation, employment law, and other legal implications of starting a business. “Our challenge [with the toolkit and presentation] was to make a complex body of laws and regulations accessible for the community,” stated Qu. “We ended up creating a valuable resource for potential vendors and for the City itself.” As team members leafed through the 77 page document, which had been carefully organized to guide a potential food truck vendor through the myriad of legal processes of starting a food truck from business plan to sample contracts, Wackerly added, “when you see [the Toolkit] in print, you can definitely appreciate the amount of work the whole team put into it. It was very rewarding to be able to finish such a major project and then have the opportunity to turn around and present that product to the public and immediately witness the positive impact we’ve had on the community.”
The FLPC and CEP will continue to work with food truck entrepreneurs and OFI in the coming semesters. The CEP plans on helping food truck entrepreneurs with their specific legal questions, and the FLPC has been working to help the City reduce the barriers food truck entrepreneurs face. The partnership between the FLPC and CEP means that the work each clinic is doing will help the other do their work more effectively.
To read the toolkit, click here.