Give 5 to help a small business thrive

Today is Small Business Saturday, and your donation of just $5 will support a small farm or food businesses in your community and across the state.

We’re already half way to our fundraising goal. We just need 50 more donations of $5 to reach HOT.  Will you help us get there?

Click on the video above to hear from small business owner Kelly Lay about how your $5 donation will help support more business likes hers, or read her story below.

Kelly Lay of D20 Peppers makes delicious pickles, jams, breads, and hot sauces with ingredients grown on her homestead. In addition to being an expert gardener and a whiz in the kitchen, Kelly also serves on her City Council and is organizing a farmers market to help grow the health and wealth of her community.

It’s her dream to open up her own storefront one day, but due to medical issues in her early adult life that caused financial burdens– like hundreds of entrepreneurs across the state– she isn’t a traditional choice for a bank loan. That’s when Kelly discovered Illinois Cottage Food Law, which allowed her to start small and make her delicious creations from her home kitchen for sale at farmers markets.

Kelly was excited about the opportunity to build a customer base and save her earnings to work towards her dream, but she quickly ran into hurdles. The law limited sales of cottage food to farmers markets, which didn’t work with her weekend job hours, and there were very few options for selling her goods over the winter.

This Spring, Kelly banded together with Illinois Stewardship Alliance and many other farmers and partners to campaign for legislation that creates smart new cottage food regulations that supports small businesses, women-owned businesses, and low-income entrepreneurs–  and they WON!

The new law is expected to grow HUNDREDS of small farms and food businesses across the state in 2022 alone. 

Now Kelly is working with Illinois Stewardship Alliance again to make sure new and existing small businesses have the resources they need to:

  • navigate the new law,
  • grow their businesses, and
  • organize together to advocate for more policies that will build just, regenerative, and thriving local food system in Illinois. 

You can support Kelly’s efforts by donating just $5 to our spicy new fundraiser called Hot Ones: Cottage Food Edition with Rep. Will Guzzardi. 

During this fundraising event, modeled after the popular YouTube series “Hot Ones,” Illinois Stewardship Alliance will interview small business champion Rep. Will Guzzardi about the cottage food industry, exciting new changes for small businesses, and how people power makes a difference, all while he eats progressively hotter hot sauces made by cottage food producers across Illinois– including ones made by Kelly!

Your donation of any size will determine the level of heat on those hot wings– 10 donors for mild, 50 for medium, 75 for medium hot, 100 hot, and 200 for five-alarm fire!

Grab your friends, make a donation of any size, and tune in to the Illinois Stewardship Alliance Facebook Page at 7pm on November 30th, Giving Tuesday, for a good cause and good old-fashioned fun.

And follow Kelly’s small business dream at D20 Peppers here