On Thursday, April 26th, local food advocates, farmers, and citizens from across the state will come together in Springfield for Local Food Lobby Day to encourage their legislators to support local food and farms. Local Food Lobby Day will consist of a lobby training, a legislative update on the important bills, and lunch (consisting of locally grown and prepared food of course!). Join us in striking up honest conversations with our legislators about the importance of local food systems to our health, communities, and environment, and advocating for positive policy solutions that support local farms and wholesome food access for all.
Local Food Lobby Day 2018
Thursday, April 26th
Meet at Arlington’s Restaurant
210 Broadway St. Springfield, IL
10:00am – 3:30pm
FREE for Alliance members.
For non-members the cost is $15.
Alliance Organizational Members may register 2 FREE attendees.
Become a member today and attend for FREE!
Catch the Bus!
Our friends at the Illinois Environmental Council are offering bus rides from Chicago and Champaign. The bus will roll into Springfield in time to join us. RSVP for your seat on an IEC bus
Take the Train!
Southbound train from Chicago: 10:15 arrival in Springfield
Northbound train from St. Louis: 9:55am arrival in Springfield
Check out Amtrak schedule
10:00 am Registration: Sign in and pick up your packets at the upstairs rooms in Arlington’s Restaurant. Coffee and Tea will be provided.
10:30 -11:30 am Training: We will review our proposed local food related legislation, practice talking points, discuss how to interact with legislators and their assistants, and provide maps and training on how to navigate the Capitol complex. After the training we will split into small teams in order to cover more ground at the Capitol.
11:30 – 12:30 pm Lunch: Enjoy a locally-sourced lunch, mingle with your group, and create a plan of action with your team.
12:30- 3:00 Lobbying: After lunch we make our way to the Capitol Complex to begin lobbying.
3:00- 3:30 pm Wrap-Up: At this time we will debrief our experience, share intelligence, and write thank you notes to legislators.
Cost: The cost for attending the lobbying training, lunch, and lobby day is FREE for Illinois Stewardship Alliance members. For non-members the cost is $15. Alliance Organizational Members may register 2 FREE attendees. Become a Member Today and attend for Free!
This year at our Local Food Lobby Day we’ll be focusing on 4 pieces of legislation:
Industrial hemp farming:
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized states to create industrial hemp research programs. While Illinois passed a hemp research bill in 2014, other states’ laws, and additional guidance from the federal government, have made it clear that our law is unnecessarily restrictive and that marketing is an acceptable research purpose. Currently, only certain universities may apply for hemp permits. Allowing farmers to grow hemp would provide an additional cash crop and conservation tool to add to their production rotations. Other states like Kentucky have already put into place such laws and have products for sale on the market already.
SNAP (food stamp) match at farmers markets:
In 2016, the Alliance worked with partners in the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity to pass a bill that created a state fund to match SNAP purchases at farmers markets with incentives to help low income folks purchase more fruit and vegetables, while putting those dollars in the pockets of local family farmers. Some markets are already offering this program with funding from private and municipal sources, matched dollar-for-dollar by the federal government, but a state fund could be more equitably distributed to where the money is most needed. Governor Rauner put an expiration date of June 2019 on the program, which we need to repeal. The legislature can appropriate $500,000 annually to the program, but have not yet funded it. We can’t let this program expire before it has even been given a chance.
Fully funding the Soil & Water Conservation Districts:
While the SWCDs were fully funded by the Illinois legislature in last year’s state budget, the Governor withheld nearly two-thirds of that funding. The Alliance will continue to push for full funding in order to protect Illinois waters for drinking and recreational use, as well as prevent the degradation of Illinois soils and wildlife habitats for the future.
Clarifications to the Illinois Food Freedom Act:
We are working to include canned tomatoes and clarify the new Food Freedom Act further to make it easier for food entrepreneurs and local health departments to navigate this new law.