Last week, more than 40 farmers and food lovers from across the state gathered in Springfield to raise their voices for fair food and farm policies at Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Annual Local Food Lobby Day. This once-a-year event brings together Alliance members and local food advocates to meet face-to-face with their legislators and have honest discussions about why local food and family farms matter for the well-being of all Illinoisans.
This year, the event drew more than a dozen local food and farm organizations including:
Illinois Farmers Market Association
Angelic Organic Learning Center
Advocates for Urban Agriculture
Illinois Farmers Union
Wellness Rising Coalition
Izaac Walton League
Mississippi River Network
Midwest Urban Farming Institute
Center for Sustainable Community
Chicago Bar Association Food Law Committee
The day consisted of a legislative update on the Alliance’s four legislative priorities for 2018, lobbying training, and a locally sourced lunch from Arlington’s restaurant. After lunch, the advocates were armed with maps and all of the materials they needed to take their passion and training to the Capitol to speak with their legislators.
We could not be more proud of the work our advocates did during Local Food Lobby Day this year- navigating the capitol, dropping off packets of materials, speaking with legislators and sharing their stories. Showing up together is how we’ve maintained our momentum in passing more than a dozen laws since 2009, and this year was no exception. Local Food Lobby Day was key in moving forward our four legislative priorities this year, including a SNAP Match at Farmers Markets, Industrial Hemp Bill, Canned Tomato Bill, and a resolution to fully fund Soil and Water Conservation Districts. These bills are laying the groundwork for building local food systems that support family farmers, protect our soil and water, and make wholesome food available for all.
The day ended with the announcement that the Canned Tomato Bill had passed through the House of Representatives unanimously and with new co-sponsor prospects to carry our bills into the next chamber.
For a full update on the current status of the bills, check here.
Nick Lucas of Advocates for Urban Agriculture said of the event, “A huge thank you for organizing yesterday! The level of groundwork you’d already laid, the orientation you gave, and materials you put in our hands allowed us all to parachute in, hit the ground running, fan out across the capitol, kick butt and take (co-sponsor) names! I and AUA so deeply value our partnership, and your dedication, passion, and professionalism.”
For more about Local Food Lobby Day, check out Agrinews’s coverage of the event.