News and blog
Share-A-Meal with Community Shares
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Would you like to enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends at a great restaurant in your area and support a great cause? With Share-A-Meal, you not only have the opportunity to have a wonderful meal with people you enjoy but also support Illinois Stewardship Alliance and 11 other Springfield charities.
The Ninth Annual Share-A-Meal with Community Shares will be held at restaurants in Springfield on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The event is sponsored by Community Shares of Illinois, a non-profit organization representing over 70 member charities, including 12 charities right here in Springfield.
Ten restaurants in Springfield are expected to donate 10-25% of their sales on April 24th to Community Shares of Illinois and the 12 Springfield area member organizations.
Participating restaurants in Springfield include:
- Augie’s Front Burner ˜ (L D)
109 S. 5th Street
- Maldaner’s ˜ (L D)
222 S. Sixth Street
- Aztca Mexican Grill (L D)
2753 Chatham Road
- Café Moxo (B L)
- Chesapeake Seafood House ˜ (L D)
3045 Clear Lake Ave.
- Centrum Café (B L D)
1370 Toronto Road
- Holy Land Diner (L)
107 W. Cook
- American Harvest ˜ (L D)
3241W. Iles Ave.
- Sgt. Pepper’s Café (B L D)
3141 Baker Drive
- Tai Pan (D)
2636 Adlai Stevenson Drive
Breakfast (B) Lunch (L) Dinner (D)
All you have to do to contribute is dine out at one of the participating restaurants. Share-A-Meal combines the pleasure of eating out with the joy of giving in one fun-filled event.
There’s a place at the table for you!
Farmers from across the Midwest and beyond gathered in Galesburg, IL on Friday, March 23 to attend one of four field hearings held by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Chairman Frank Lucas and four others from the Committee listened to ten producers give their thoughts on what is working and what is not working in the current farm bill and what changes they would like to see in the next farm bill. Congressman Bobby Schilling, who represents the 17th Congressional District that includes Galesburg, serves on the Agriculture Committee. Congressman Randy Hultgren from Winfield, Illinois was in attendance as well as Congressmen Leonard Boswell (IA) and K. Michael Conaway (TX).
Farmers providing their testimony ranged from corn & soybean producers to specialty crop producers (vegetables and fruits). Their testimony can be found by clicking on their names below.
Mr. David C. Erickson, corn and soybean producer, Altona, Illinois
Mrs. Deborah L. Moore, corn, soybean, and beef producer, Roseville, Illinois
Mr. John Mages, corn and soybean producer, Belgrade, Minnesota
Mr. Blake Gerard, rice, soybean, wheat, and corn producer, McClure, Illinois
Mr. Craig Adams, corn, soybean, wheat, hay, and beef producer, Leesburg, Ohio
Mr. John Williams, sorghum, corn, wheat, and soybean producer, McLeansboro, Illinois
Mr. Gary Asay, pork, corn, and soybean producer, Osco, Illinois
Mr. Terry Davis, corn and soybean producer, Roseville, Illinois
Mr. David W. Howell, corn, soybean, pumpkin, and tomato producer, Middletown, Indiana
Ms. Jane A. Weber, specialty crop producer, Bettendorf, Iowa
Call to Action for ISA Members and Friends
It is not too late to provide your own testimony to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Your comments have to be submitted online at: http://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill. Deadline for submitting comments is May 20, 2012.
Some key points you can use to guide your comments:
- First and foremost: Pass a Farm Bill in 2012; don't wait!
- Local and regional food systems help create jobs and spur economic growth in rural and urban communities. Please support investment in this growing sector by including the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act in the next farm bill.
- The future of family farming and ranching in America depends upon ensuring that would-be new farmers have access to land, capital, and markets. Please support beginning farmers and ranchers by including Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act in the next farm bill.
- Farmers depend on quality, cutting-edge research to stay successful – please make sure the next farm bill invests in this crucial work.
- Working lands conservation programs help farmers maintain productivity while protecting our air, water, and soil, protect these programs from unfair funding cuts! Substantial cuts have already been made to farm conservation programs; hold the line on any further reductions to working lands conservation.
- Funding and strengthening working lands conservation programs will help producers protect and rebuild soil, improve water and air quality, and reverse habitat loss while maintaining productive farms and ranches.
- Ensuring that producers avoid environmentally harmful practices when they receive crop insurance subsidies will modernize the farm safety net and protect the productivity of agricultural lands.
- Maintain level funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
- Make improvements to CSP ranking, payment, planning, and renewal provisions.
For the Agriculture Committee to incorporate your comments into the record, it must be submitted online by the May 20 deadline. We recommend that you also send a copy of your comments to the ISA office and to the Illinois Members of the Agriculture Committee.
Congressman Bobby Schilling
3000 41st Street, Suite 2
Moline, IL 61265
Congressman Randy Hultgren
1797 State Street, Ste. A
Geneva, IL 60134
Congressman Tim Johnson
202 N. Prospect Rd, Ste. 203
Bloomington, IL 61704
In a second round of Farm Bill outreach, Harold Wilken, organic farmer from Danforth, accompanied Claudia Emken, Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) conservation policy advocate, to Washington, D.C. to meet with Illinois Congressional Members who sit on the House Agriculture Committee. March 6 was a full day of meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss 2012 farm bill, starting with a briefing in the morning by National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) for farmers and member organization staff who had come in from all over the country. ISA is a member of NSAC.
Meetings were held with staff from: 17th District, Congressman Bobby Schilling, Rock Island; 15th District Congressman Tim Johnson, Champaign; and Senators Durbin and Kirk. A packet of information was left for 14th District Congressman Randy Hultgren, Winfield, as well.
ISA priorities for the 2012 farm bill include continuation of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Local Foods programs, and Beginning Farmer programs. Harold Wilken and his son Ross participate in all of these programs. Harold is enrolled in CSP, has transitioned all of his 1400 acres to organic, and Ross recently rented his first farm. Wilken was able to discuss the ins and outs of the programs and why they are beneficial to farmers in Illinois and across the country. More information on ISA farm bill priorities can be found here.
During the morning briefing by NSAC, Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture, addressed the group and discussed a number of issues, including Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Compass-- http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=KYF_COMPASS.
One of the farmers who participated in the NSAC fly-in, Mr. Jody Hardin from Arkansas, testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday to discuss the success of his local food production operation.
Learn more about Mr. Wilken in a profile here.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance was one of the sponsors of a workshop held March 2 in Princeton where farmers learned various programs and practices available to help them manage their lands more economically.
The 2012 Economics of Land Stewardship & Nutrient Management Workshop featured a series of speakers and was moderated by Alan Guebert, award‐winning freelance journalist and nationally syndicated ag columnist.
Dan Schaefer from the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices discussed the
"Keep It For the Crop (KIC) by 2025" program that emphasizes voluntary action by producers to adopt
nutrient stewardship practices on their land. You can learn more about this here (http://www.ifca.com/media/files/kic_quarterly_report_march_2012.pdf)
Tom Yucus, Ohio, IL, responded to question regarding his participation in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and his use of cover crops. His operation has been fully organic since 2010 and has enhanced his CSP acres by increasing and improving habitat for pollinators, primarily through native prairie flowers. Learn more about CSP here: (link to our CSP info on web--updated version)
The workshop was hosted by Friends of the Big Bureau Creek Watershed, of which ISA is a member. Big Bureau Creek is a Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) project with funding from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Details of Big Bureau Creek Project can be found here: http://wetlands-initiative.org/what-we-do/mississippi-river-basin-healthy-watersheds-initiative/friends-of-the-big-bureau-creek-watershed.html
Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council Summit
Friday, March 16
Join FamilyFarmed.org, Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council for the seventh annual Chicago Food Policy Summit. A wide group of stakeholders, from public and private organizations to community based activists, will provide a comprehensive examination of the local food system and discuss strategies to further the development of responsible food and agriculture policy recommendations.
Join ISA at our Farm Bill Workshop and experience the movement that’s transforming the way we eat.
Good Food Festival and Conference
March 15-17 at UIC Forum
The FamilyFarmed EXPO is now the Good Food Festival and Conference. Join us and celebrate the joys of food at our family-friendly Festival and be inspired at our industry-driven conference, which includes the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council Summit, where a wide group of stakeholders will discuss strategies to further the development of responsible food and agriculture policy recommendations.
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee is coming to Illinois. Chairman Frank Lucas announced today that there will be a series of hearings in March and April, one of which will be in Galesburg on March 23 at 9 a.m. at Carl Sandburg College.
These hearings follow recent U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hearings held in Washington, D.C. The Senate hearing on Feb. 28 addressed conservation programs. That hearing is archived and can be viewed at http://www.agriculture.senate.gov/. Look for "Strengthening Conservation through the 2012 Farm Bill" for the video link.
This is the perfect time for ISA members to attend the hearing and let these Members of Congress learn from your personal experience what programs are working, what needs to be changed, tweaked or eliminated in the next Farm Bill.
We will update our website as we learn more details.
All across Illinois and the U.S. lawmakers are beginning to take notice of the growing demand for local food systems. Illinois lawmakers are beginning to pay attention and the 2009 passage of the IL Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act, last spring’s Cottage Food Law and this year’s Senate Resolution urging congress to adopt a farm bill that supports local food systems show just that.
However this is not something that happened on its own. The great success of the local food movement is the result of Illinois farmers and citizens speaking up and letting their voices be heard!
One way you can help build legislative support for local food and promote positive policy changes is to meet with your legislators and tell them what issues are important to you.. Sound interesting?
Illinois Stewardship Alliance has the perfect opportunity for you to join us in advocating for environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just local food systems. Join us for our 3rd Annual Local Food Awareness Day at the Capitol!
On March 28th, local food advocates, farmers, and citizens from across the state will come together in Springfield for Local Food Awareness Day to encourage their legislators to support local food and farms. We will also meet with Illinois’ Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon for a roundtable discussion on local food issues.
When: March 28th, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (check-in starts @ 10 a.m.)
Where: The Illinois State Capitol Complex and the Illinois State Library Room 403/404
(300 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62701)
Registration: Register online here
Local Food Awareness Day will consist of a legislative update, orientation, lobbying training, and lunch. Following lunch we will descend upon the capitol to meet with legislators and educate them about the importance of local food systems and advocate for positive policy solutions that support local food and farms.
* Legislative Meet & Greet: In the evening following local food day, participants are invited to join ISA and the Illinois Environmental Council for a legislative meet and greet located at Charlie’s Club in the basement of Adiamo, 206 South 6th Street Springfield, IL 62701. This is a great way to meet other activists and legislators in a fun social atmosphere. ISA is a member of the Illinois Environmental Council. The IEC will be having their annual environmental lobby day on March 29th.
2012 Economics of Land Stewardship & Nutrient Management Workshop
Download event flier here
About the workshop: Local Illinois farmers can learn more about the economics of their operations by attending a half day workshop on Friday, March 2 at theMetroCenterinPrinceton. The "2012 Economics of Land Stewardship & Nutrient Management Workshop" is hosted by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Friends of the Big Bureau Creek Watershed. The workshop will feature speakers covering a wide range of topics covering conservation, water quality and financial planning. There is no charge to attend this workshop. A complimentary continental breakfast will be served and registration begins at7:30 a.m.
Alan Guebert, award winning free-lance journalist and nationally syndicated ag columnist, will serve as moderator. Shelley Giesen, VP and Wealth Advisor from Citizens Trust & Investment Group, will discuss financial planning; Dan Schaefer from the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices will discuss the "Keep It For the Crop (KIC) by 2025" program that emphasizes voluntary action by producers to adopt nutrient stewardship practices on their land. Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Illinois Pork Producers, and Syngenta Crop Protection are all members of the Council on Best Management Practices.
Participants will learn about a variety of conservation programs offered by USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Additional workshop topics include a discussion by crop specialists and local farmers on conservation practices such as the use of cover crops and strip till.
Jill Kostel, PhD, Senior Environmental Engineer at The Wetlands Initiative and Dick Breckenridge, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Advisor (ILEPA) will discuss water quality trading and which conservation practices help improve water quality.
A panel discussion with area farmers and other partners who are working on projects funded through USDA's Mississippi River Basin Initiative will conclude the workshop. Members of the panel represent partnerships working in Big Bureau Creek watershed and other watersheds: Senachwine Creek in Peoria and Marshall counties; Indian Creek in Vermilion County; Upper Salt Fork in Champaign County. Each will present accomplishments from the conservation work they are doing and will then open for questions from the audience.
Friends of the Big Bureau Creek Watershed include LaSalle and Lee County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, American Corn Growers Institute for Public Policy, Big Bureau Creek Watershed Group, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Maurer Stutz, Inc, Northwater Consulting, Pheasants Forever, Prairie Rivers Network, The Wetlands Initiative, Trees Forever, and U.S. Geological Survey.
It’s never easy to say goodbye. It’s especially hard when you have a stand-up leader like Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant. After seven years on the board and a two-year term as president, Deborah’s service to Illinois Stewardship Alliance comes to an end.
“My involvement with ISA began in the mid-80’s when I was working with the Department of Energy and Natural Resources managing the Sustainable Agriculture Grant program. A few years later, I became the Director for the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Network (ISAN) working at ISA in the old bank building in Rochester. For over 25 years I have been an ISA supporter with the last seven years as a board member” said Deborah.
Deborah has touched many with her unwavering dedication and commitment to promoting local foods and sustainable agriculture production through her involvement in a host of local, statewide and national efforts including: Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network, Illinois Farmers Market Network, Illinois Organic Growers Association, Slow Food Springfield, Springfield Area Local Food Task Force and the USDA Beginning Farmer Advisory Committee.
At ISA, we are happy to say that we won’t really be saying goodbye to Deborah. We look forward to continued partnerships with her as the University of Illinois Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator for Logan, Menard and Sangamon Counties.
As Deborah passes the torch, we welcome John Curtis, owner and farmer at Barefoot Gardens in Macomb as ISA’s new board president. John, along with his wife, Karen Mauldin-Curtis, run a 50 member vegetable CSA and are active in the local food community in Macomb.
"I joined the Illinois Stewardship Alliance board because of my commitment to the land and the people who work close to it. Four years later, I am excited and honored to head our new board of directors at a time when ISA is leading the growing movement to re-establish local food systems in Illinois” said John. “We have a board made up of creative and forward-thinking community leaders gathered from around the state and a dedicated, professional staff that has proven to be effective both in Springfield and throughout Illinois."
ISA also welcomes new officers: Robert Haugland, Vice President; Ann Dougherty, Treasurer; and Sheila Walk, Secretary. To see the full list of board of directors, click here.
There is rarely a "typical" legislative year in Congress and when factors like a presidential election, politicians running in newly drawn districts, and deficit reduction pressure all falling in the same year, one cannot predict what will happen next!
What we do know is the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, more commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill, expires on September 30, 2012. Congress has to do something or farm policy reverts back to 1949 law--a provision written into each farm bill and a big carrot to ensure reauthorization.
Many factors are in play right now that give cause to believe a new farm bill will be passed in 2012. For starters, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee will hold four committee hearings during February and March:
- February 15: Energy and economic growth for Rural America
- February 29: Strengthening conservation through the 2012 Farm Bill
- March 14: Health food initiatives, local production, and nutrition
- March 21: Risk management and commodities in the 2012 Farm Bill
We will be monitoring these hearings and working to promote our priorities with our Illinois Congressional delegation throughout the coming months.
There are still factors in play that could possibly derail efforts to pass the farm bill. The U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees wrote a farm bill last fall that was submitted to the "Super Committee" that was supposed to come up with recommendations on how to reduce the deficit. That bill has never been released publicly, but it does appear that it will be used as a starting point for the 2012 Farm Bill. We have been working closely with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on farm bill priorities and we continue to focus on the optimistic viewpoint that we will see a new farm bill passed before the November election.
ISA priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill include Conservation Stewardship Program; Conservation Compliance; Farmers Market Promotion Program; Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program; Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; Value Added Producer Grant Program; Farmers Market Technology Improvement; and Planting Flexibility. You can learn more about the ISA priorities under federal policy on the ISA website or by clicking here.