On Thursday, April 6th, local food advocates, farmers, and citizens from across the state will come together in Springfield for Local Food Lobby Day to encourage their legislators to support local food and farms. Local Food Lobby Day will consist of a lobby training, a legislative update on the important bills, and lunch (consisting of locally grown and prepared food of course!). Join us in striking up honest conversations with our legislators about the importance of local food systems and advocating for positive policy solutions that support these systems.
Deadline for registration: Friday, March 31st
8:30am – 9:00am Registration: Sign in and pick up your packets at the upstairs rooms in Arlington’s Restaurant. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided.
9:00am -10:00am Training: We will review our proposed local food related legislation, practice talking points, discuss how to interact with legislators and their assistants, and provide maps and training on how to navigate the Capitol complex.
10:00am – 1:00pm Lobbying: After the legislation overview and training we will split into groups and make our way to the Capitol Complex to begin lobbying!
1:00pm – 2:30pm Lunch: Around 1:00pm we will start trickling back to Arlington’s for a locally-sourced lunch and to debrief on the day.
2:30 – 3:00pm Wrap-Up: At this time we write thank you cards to legislators and wrap up with ways to stay involved and keep up on the journey of our bills.
Cost: The cost for attending the lobbying training, lunch, and lobby day is FREE for Illinois Stewardship Alliance members. For non-members the cost is $15. Organizational members may register 2 FREE attendees. Become a Member Today and attend for Free!
This year, there are several key pieces of legislation on which will focus our efforts.
2017 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES — SUSTAINABLE LOCAL FOOD ECONOMIES
- Local Food Business Opportunities (SB1469/HB2820 – Sen. Koehler/Rep. Andersson): This bill does double duty by adding to the list of allowable foods for production by Cottage Food Operations (homemade foods) & streamlining certain farmers market food sanitation rules across counties.
- With regards to cottage food, more allowable foods means more small business owners & more dollars staying in local economies.
- Under the current cottage food legislation, jams, jellies and baked goods are allowed, but no value-added vegetable products are allowed. Diversified family farms in Illinois raise more vegetables than fruits and providing an opportunity to process these foods and add value has the potential to not only decrease food waste, but to increase the economic viability of small farms.
- This bill also addresses disparities across counties in refrigeration & hand washing station rules at farmers markets. Currently, these regulations are set by each county health department and the rules and fees vary widely. Standardizing these regulations will make it easier for small farmers to attend multiple farmers markets in various counties.
- Illinois Food Freedom (HB3063 – Rep. Guzzardi): We prefer this alternative to the bill above. This bill provides that a food producer can sell any harvested or homemade food to an informed end consumer for personal home use, without inspection or certification (excluding non-poultry meats). Cottage food producers must have a Food Service Sanitation Managers Certificate, register with the county, and follow labeling The bill also, streamlines farmers markets food sanitation rules.
- Ultimately, this bill provides more opportunities for diversified farmers and entrepreneurs than just adding to this list of allowable cottage foods.
- Unprocessed Milk (SB1662/HB2466 – Sen. Koehler/Rep. Breen): This bill provides that raw milk may be produced, distributed & sold in accordance with IDPH rules, and deletes restriction to on-farm only sales & distribution.
- Helps family dairy farms stay in business under new, expensive, and non-scale appropriate regulations implemented in 2016.
- Gives consumers the ability to purchase raw milk without cumbersome on-farm sales requirements.
- Industrial Hemp (SB1294 – Sen. Hutchinson): Creates an opportunity for IL farmers to apply for permits from IDOA in order to grow industrial hemp and instructs IDOA to write rules. Kentucky already has 135 farms, 4.500+ acres & 40 processors enrolled in hemp production. IL was the lead producer in the ‘40s. (Note: Industrial hemp is a strain of hemp that does not contains the levels of THC to be used as a drug and instead is used primarily for food and fiber).
- Local Food Resolution: Urges Congress to support local food programs in the 2018 Farm Bill. Illinois Stewardship Alliance works with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to advance federal sustainable agriculture policy, and we want IL members of Congress and Senators to continue helping to strengthen local food economies.
- Healthy Local Foods Incentives (Budget Appropriation): $500,000 appropriation to fund the program created by the 99thA. through SB1367. Provides matching dollars for SNAP clients to purchase additional fruit & vegetables at farmers markets.
Good food and farm policy that supports small family farms, local food systems and sustainable agriculture will not happen on their own; they require farmers and consumers to “Move Beyond the Fork,” and get engaged in the legislative process.