Every Family Deserves Fresh, Wholesome Food– You Can Make It Happen

Every family deserves fresh, wholesome food. Read on to find out how you can make it happen!

Ethan, Evelyn, and twins Gavin and Gabe at the Old Capitol Farmers Market

For Jessica Lance, the Old Capitol Farmers Market is a life-saver.

Her five year old twins, Gavin and Gabe, were born prematurely. They experienced traumatic brain injuries and were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Feeding her boys nutritious food is one of the best things she can do to help them combat the worst effects of the condition.

But it’s tough on a limited income. After the mortgage, transportation to daily doctor appointments, prescriptions, and overnight hospitalizations, there’s not much left for fruit and vegetables for four kids.

At our farmers market in Springfield, though, her SNAP benefits double the family’s food budget.

We’re proud to offer a dollar-for-dollar match up to $25 a week for customers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at the Old Capitol Farmers Market.

With the SNAP match, Jessica can bring home two pints of fresh strawberries from Reliant Farm for the price of one. Twice as many tomatoes from R&R Farm. Double the greens from Oak Tree Farm.

Last summer, we raised $8,000 to double the purchasing power of hundreds of families. Over 80% of the SNAP match went to women – most were moms like Jessica.

Like you, we want every family to have access to healthy, fresh local food.

But not every farmers market can afford the technology or staff needed to operate a SNAP program. Less than a quarter of Illinois’ 350 farmers markets offer a SNAP match.

Imagine the difference it would make in your own community if Illinois farmers could count on their cut of $1 million more in produce sales to SNAP customers at farmers markets.

This spring, Alliance members worked with state Representative Tim Butler and Senator Don Harmon to introduce legislation to create a $500,000 fund for a statewide SNAP match at farmers markets. The fund would give every farmers market an opportunity to provide a SNAP match like the one that serves Jessica in Springfield.

If the Healthy Local Food Incentives is fully funded, Illinois could qualify for a federal match to double our investment to $1,000,000.

Your tax-deductible $25, $50 or more membership contribution can help make that happen. 


A million dollars!

In the months to come, your membership support will enable the Alliance to intensify our ongoing efforts to educate state and federal lawmakers, build coalitions, recruit leaders, and pass initiatives like the Healthy Local Food Incentives Fund.

If you shop at your local farmers market, or just appreciate having one in your town, you know that $1 million in new produce sales will have a ripple effect.

When farmers do well, they invest in new and different products to bring to market.

With new crops and products, you get more choices to feed yourself and your family.

When you have more choices, you can spend more at the market and save time.

When markets thrive, nearby businesses enjoy a boost in foot traffic.

When local Main Street businesses do well, our communities prosper.

Family farmers bring fresh greens to the Old Capitol Farmers Market. Spending food dollars with family farms means that you are supporting real families who will use those dollars to re-invest in your community.

Changing laws and rebuilding a local food system won’t happen overnight. And we can’t do it without people like you who want to live and raise your family in a thriving, healthy community.


We have a remarkable record of success.At the Alliance, we organize farmers together with eaters to advocate for policies that build a more just and sustainable local food system that we can all enjoy.

With the help of folks like you, the Alliance has passed a dozen bills in the state legislature since 2012.

We eased burdensome regulations like the Better Rules for Farmers Markets and the Local Food Business Opportunities Act, made it easier for communities to create seed libraries, and passed the state’s first cottage food law, to name a few.

This spring at the legislature, Alliance members celebrated huge wins:

  • Passed a new law that will give Illinois farmers the opportunity to grow industrial hemp, a hardy crop that has environmental benefits while also turning a profit.
  • Expanded the Illinois’ Food Freedom Law even more to include tomato products (think salsa, soup, and pasta sauce!) to the list of foods that can be safely produced in home-based kitchens and sold at farmers markets.
  • Won $5 million for county-based Soil and Water Conservation Districts to work with farmers to protect soil and keep our waterways clean.

Thanks to the Local Food Business Opportunities Act that went into effect on June 1st, 2018, Maggie Leigh Ray and her husband can now bring their farm fresh eggs to market.

Thanks to the Food Freedom Act that went into effect on January 1, 2018, Amy Randazzo of Grani’s Acres was able to take the extra produce from her farm to offer dried spices and homemade pasta noodles for sale at a nearby winter farmers market…giving her an extra opportunity to earn income over the winter months and giving shoppers more selection.

That’s what Alliance members accomplished in our state. You can impact our national food and farming future too.

Right now in Congress, lawmakers are debating the 2018 Farm Bill, the massive piece of legislation that only comes up for a vote every five years.

Nearly every bite of food you enjoy is impacted by the decisions made in the Farm Bill.

The decisions they make now will determine what our food system looks like for the next five years and decades to come. Alliance members all over the state have stepped up to make sure Illinois’ members of Congress know we want a Farm Bill that includes support for family farms, farmers markets, beginning farmers, and makes fresh, local food available for everyone.

You may have attended one of our “Dishing on the Farm Bill” letter writing parties this year. You know how hard and strategically we’re working to make sure your voice is heard.

Friends gather together to write letters to their legislators at a Dishing on the Farm Bill party at in Champaign.


We’re lucky to get the best and latest intelligence on federal food policy issues as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). NSAC is our eyes and ears in Washington, D.C.

When you become a member, you can count on the Alliance to be your eyes and ears in the State Capitol in Springfield.

As a member, you’ll receive:

  • Quick, easy and effective opportunities to take action on the issues that matter to you;
  • Invitations to join our community in experiences you’ll enjoy like our annual Local Food Lobby Day and Summer Shindig; and
  • Our monthly e-newsletter and quarterly print newsletter with the best and latest information you need to find and prepare fresh, local food and know what’s happening in your community.

You will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re part of a powerful Alliance of farmers and eaters cultivating a more just and sustainable local food system.

Can we count on you to join the Alliance now at the $25, $50 or a level that feels good to you during our Annual Membership Drive until July 6th?


Our success depends upon our members – the larger our membership, the louder our voice, and the greater our impact on sustainable and just food and farming. Thank you!

Your tax-deductible $50 membership contribution, or gift at any level, will give our campaign firepower to secure $1 million for Illinois farmers markets to offer moms like Jessica across the state a dollar-for-dollar match for healthy produce with SNAP benefits.

Our Annual Membership Drive will end with a free concert at Danenberger Family Vineyard in New Berlin on July 6th at 6pm. We’re holding a drawing for a half hog donated by Sugar Grove Family Farms. Purchase your chance to win for just $10! For new members who join at the $50 level can get 5 FREE $10 raffle tickets for the half hog!