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The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) charts the changing legal territory of the new economy, educating communities and individuals about the possibilities and limits of creative economic structures, and advocating for laws that clear the way for more sustainable economic development.


SELC provides essential legal tools - education, research, advice and advocacy - to support this transition to localized, resilient economies. Their work focuses on practices that promote justice and sharing, including cooperatives, community currencies, community enterprises, local investing, cohousing, urban agriculture, and other innovative economic strategies.


SELC’s Cooperatives Program works to vastly expand the legal resources available to cooperative enterprises of all types. They provide education, advocacy and advice for cooperatives, including legal documents and guidance for best practices.


SELC’s Community Currencies Program supports economies based on barter, gifts,  time banks and local currencies by providing legal resources and research on regulatory issues, including tax law, employment law and securities law.



In the field of food SELC helps people who want to live in a world where the food they eat is produced locally and /or by small-scale, sustainable, community-owned enterprises. SELC’s Community Enterprise Program develops legal resources and policies that allow local community financing and ownership of enterprises and assets, with a specific focus on navigating or removing securities law barriers to local investing.


The thought behind this is the fact that the traditional economic development models focus on attracting business and real estate investments from outside of a community. The unfortunate result is that wealth leaves the community, rather than remaining available for the community’s benefit.


Based in Oakland, California, SELC is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Ventures, a California 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.


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Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization
Field of work Law
Date of commencement 2012
Founder(s) Community Ventures, a California 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
Legal form
Continent North America
Country USA
City Oakland
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Legal advise, local economy, law centre for the new economy
Publications Books, newsletters, education material, publications
More information

Contact person(s)

Janelle Orsi


Contact information

Name Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC)
Address 436 14th Street, Suite 1120
Zip/postal code 94612
Place Oakland
State/province California
Country USA
Phone +1 760 569 6782



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