For years, our food and farm system has slowly evolved away from one that centers farmers, community, and diversity to one that favors consolidation and corporate control: the results of which have been devastating to the health and wealth of our communities and climate. We believe that the only way to reverse this trend is to bring more transparency to this system and return more power into the hands of farmers and eaters. We do that by building leadership among farmers and eaters, building relationships with policymakers, and unlocking the democratic process so that our members can more fully engage and create change.
Our organization is farmer-driven and eater-powered, which means we work closely with the heart of the food system– our farmers– to identify and untangle the deep-rooted issues in our food system, and we work closely with eaters to shed light on these issues and use their purchasing power and political power to create change. By bringing these to groups together, we are able to slowly recreate our food system– one that works for us all.
Who we are:
We are an alliance of farmers and eaters.
Our mission is to find, connect, train and amplify the leadership of farmers and eaters who use their choices and their voices to shape a more just and regenerative local food and farm system. Our statewide community unites to educate policymakers and form a powerful voice that has a seat at every table where decisions are made.
What we want:
An Illinois where farmers earn a living responsibly stewarding the land and feeding our communities; people can easily and affordably find and buy local food that aligns with their values; and we all enjoy vibrant, resilient, and healthy communities.
What we believe:
1. We believe in the right to healthy, wholesome food for all.
2. We are responsible to steward our natural resources in a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from our actions. In a time of climate change we must practice agriculture in ways that regenerate soil and protect our air and water.
3. We believe people, local communities, and the planet are more important than profit. When power is concentrated in the hands of too few, the health and well being of people, community and land is put at risk.
5. We buy local food as much as we can but we understand that buying local or sustainable food is not always possible nor is it enough. We must use our voices in smart and strategic ways and train ourselves in making change.
4. We believe we must address the legacy of harm to people of color in order to achieve a healthy and just food system.
6. We operate as a transparent organization and demand transparency in both our food system and in our government.
7. We believe cooperation is the key to success. We commit to prioritize and invest in building trusting relationships with, and fostering a community among farmers and allies who want to build just, regenerative food and farm systems.
8. We create an environment in which everyone’s voice is heard and feels valued, respected, and inspired.
9. We value truth, will listen carefully, challenge assumptions, base our positions on facts and support sensible solutions.
10. We believe in the power of good food, music, art, culture and storytelling to bring us together, understand each other and build community.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance receives grant funding and donations from entities that have a mission that aligns with our basic tenets (see above) Here’s the list of our current funders:
- Clif Bar Family Foundation
- Farm Aid
- Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation
- Lumpkin Family Foundation
- McKnight Foundation
- New Vision Foundation
- United States Department of Agriculture/Illinois Department of Agriculture
- Walton Family Foundation
- J.R. Albert Foundation