More than 50 people turned out to the Illinois State Capitol for Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Local Food Awareness day. Participants listened to a pep talk from Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon before getting a crash course in lobbying from Wes King, Illinois Stewardship Alliance interim executive director and registered lobbyist. The attendees then blanketed the capitol to talk to their representatives about the importance of local food.
ISA’s legislative priorities were two pieces of legislation that reform Illinois composting regulations. Both passed out of committee in late March, partially thanks to lobby day participant’s efforts. The legislation allows farmers, both rural and urban, and community gardens to use limited amounts of certain materials from off-site in their composting operations.
Currently, Illinois environmental law that pertains to composting pushes everyone into a one-size-fits all category, and is designed to regulate large scale commercial operations with little thought for the realities of urban farming, community gardens and sustainable agriculture.
“These bills will create scale appropriate laws for composting and open new opportunities for urban and rural agricultural operations to compost on their farm or garden and create high quality compost to grow food,” Wes King, Illinois Stewardship Alliance Interim Executive Director said.
Now the legislation moves to the full House of Representatives in the legislature. Please contact your representative and let them know that you, a voting constituent, support the composting reform legislation. Click HERE to find out who your representative is.
ISA joined forces with Food and Water Watch, which is advocating for genetically engineered food labeling, in the hope of to increasing the impact of each others’ efforts during Local Food Awareness day. The genetically engineered labeling legislation is being sponsored by Sen. David Koehler, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Sen. Koehler has indicated that he plans to hold a series of public listening session around the state this summer to discuss the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Stay tuned for more information on those hearings.