Policymakers and farmers meet to discuss where legislation meets livelihood

Over twenty farmer roundtable participants are seated in a circle over looking the large fields of food being grown at Sola Gratia.
Over twenty farmers, Rep. Davis, and State Rep. Butler, seated in a circle over looking the large fields of food being grown at Sola Gratia.

Thanks to Congressman Rodney Davis and State Rep. Tim Butler for joining in on the farm fun.

On August 9th, Alliance members from near and far joined together at Sola Gratia Farm in Urbana for our first Summer Shindig of the season! 

Congressman Rodney Davis of the 13th District, and State Rep. Tim Butler of the 87th District joined us to provide opening remarks and kicked-off the event with the first mallet swing on squash croquet (croquet played with winter squash!). 

Congressman Rep. Rodney Davis, State Rep. Tim Butler and John Williams, farm manager of Sola Gratia exit a green house smiling and laughing.
Congressman Rep. Rodney Davis, State Rep. Tim Butler and John Williams, farm manager of Sola Gratia exit a green house smiling and laughing.

We toasted big wins in the state legislature and recognized the members who helped make them happen. We celebrated with an amazing locally-sourced meal from Piato Cafe featuring fresh ingredients grown right on Sola Gratia Farm, and we filled the evening with potato sack races, okra darts, art, conversation, and laughter.

State Rep Tim Butler smiles at the camera after a tasty bite of sweet red pepper grown in the hoop house he's photographed in.
State Rep Tim Butler smiles at the camera after a bite of sweet red pepper.
Congressman Rep. Rodney Davis take a big bit out of a red sweet pepper while inside the hoop house growing hundreds more! In sunglasses and smiling at the camera as he goes in for another bite!
Congressman Rep. Rodney Davis take a big bit out of a red sweet pepper

After a year apart, it felt so good to be back together again, breaking bread and sharing in collective joy and fellowship out on a farm. 

Special thank you to Traci Barkley and the team at Sola Gratia for being such gracious hosts; Welcome Wagon volunteers Evelyn Tardy, Kelly Matthews, and Cassidy Dellorto-Blackwell; and shout out again to our amazing members who showed incredible leadership this past legislative session: 

  • Kelly Lay of D20 Peppers for her leadership on the Home-to-Market Act
  • John Williams of Red Crib Acres for his work to get state funding that will enable more farmers markets to start or grow a SNAP Match program
  • Steve Stierwalt, Pam and Bernie Hand, and Dennis Hand for their work to increase conservation funding by $6 million.
  • Our partners at The Land Connection and Faith in Place for their partnership in advancing our shared vision.

Our alliance of farmers and eaters is growing wider, and our relationships with each other are growing deep.

Guest of the Urbana Summer Shindig are competing in a three legged potato sack race. Three teams from left to right are on a grass strip between a hoop house and out door event tent. Team to the left if in second, middle team is way ahead and smiling at the camera, and the final team at the right has toppled and are attempting to get back up!

See photos and videos here.

There’s still time to join us for Summer Shindigs on a farm near you:

  • Urban Growers Collective, Chicago, August 28th, 11:00am SOLD OUT!
  • All Seasons Farm, Cobden in Southern Illinois, September 19th, 3:30pm