Emma Clouse

The Project

Emma advances community goals to further a sustainable and equitable economy in Chicago’s historically disinvested low-income communities of color by collaborating with community groups, creating tools and resources to better understand and reform complicated city policies, and providing legal services for transactional and permitting processes.

Historically disadvantaged communities of color in Chicago are disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and are working on proactive solutions to these harms, often despite steep barriers. Emma’s project addresses these barriers by providing advocacy and direct legal services to small businesses and community organizations creating healthier, safer, and economically sustainable environments. Her advocacy focuses on equitable water access and urban agriculture. Partnership organizations include urban agriculture support networks, green space and water advocates, and small businesses focused on sustainability and addressing environmental injustices.

Emma’s dedication to a cleaner environment motivates her to empower those most impacted by industry and pollution to create safer and healthier communities.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the past year, Emma has:

  • Provided legal support to urban growers navigating water access options for the 2021 growing season
  • Advocated for equitable water access, infrastructure, and policies with community partners
  • Presented at information sessions and conferences on areas such as land use and zoning, LLC and nonprofit formation, and water access

Next Steps

In the next year, Emma plans to:

  • Create a legal clinic focused on providing land and property law advice to urban growers
  • Host a legal panel where attorneys will present information and answer questions on common legal issues urban growers face in the City of Chicago
  • Advocate for broader policies supporting sustainable development tools like urban agriculture
  • Provide legal assistance to policy advocates seeking to implement equitable water access and infrastructure


Fighting for Land and Water Access in Chicago

The Power of Connection Virtual Event

I am eager to work alongside communities to affirmatively reduce environmental injustice and encourage sustainable development.

Emma Clouse /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow