Local Food Farmer Caucus Kick-Off: Dec. 2nd & 3rd

Calling all local food farmers! Farmers like you across the state are banding together in the Alliance’s new Local Food Farmer Caucus to drive a state policy agenda on the issues you care about. We’re kicking things off in December with a launch party where you can learn about the caucus and what it means to be a member. Your voice matters, and we want you there!

Local Food Farmer Caucus Kick-Off
Wednesday, Dec. 2nd: 4-6pm &
Thursday, Dec. 3rd: 4-6pm
Meeting virtually on Zoom: $15

The Local Food Caucus Kick-Off event is open to all farmers that sell into local markets. To participate in the ongoing work and decision-making of the caucus following the Kick-Off event, you must be a member of Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Your membership helps sustain the work of the caucus to organize farmers and campaign on the issues you care about. Scholarships for BIPOC farmers are provided by Chicago Food Policy Action Council.

On Day 2 of the Alliance’s Local food Farmer Caucus Kick-Off hear from a few special guests who value farmers’ voices: Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, the Director of Illinois Department of Agriculture Jerry F Costello, and State Representative Sonya Harper!

For too long decisions have been made without farmers at the table. This caucus changes that. The Local Food Farmer Caucus is a group of farmers that believe that Illinois can feed Illinois, that farmers are the heart of the local food movement, and that when farmers come together to form a collective voice, the local food movement will be stronger. The Local Food Farmers Caucus will help develop a thriving, economically viable and just local food system in Illinois by bringing farmers together to build community, share issues, solve problems, and change policy.

During the farmer-led kick-off event you will:

  • meet like-minded farmers
  • learn how the caucus will work together
  • hear stories from farmers on their most pressing issues and legislative solutions
  • help lay the groundwork for a farmer-driven policy agenda that will grow the local food economy. 

We believe that the legacy of colonialism, systemic racism and corporate power in the food system disproportionately impacts the most marginalized people in society — including BIPOC, women and the LGBTQ+ community. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do and their voices be brought to the forefront of organizing around food system issues. We cannot change the food system without addressing these inequities, so we strongly encourage and welcome participation from people with these identities.  

The Local Food Caucus Kick-Off event is open to all farmers that sell into local markets. To participate in the ongoing work and decision-making of the caucus following the Kick-Off event, you must be a member of Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Your membership helps sustain the work of the caucus to organize farmers and campaign on the issues you care about. Scholarships for BIPOC farmers are provided by Chicago Food Policy Action Council.

Join with Farmers Across the State

The Local Food Farmer Caucus is farmer led, and already farmers from across the state have come together to commit their time and leadership to this cause. When you join the Local Food Farmer Caucus, you’ll be joining with the farmers below: 

  • Cliff McConville, All Grass Farms
  • Jody & Beth Osmund, Cedar Valley Sustainability Farm
  • Chris Trogg, Trogg’s Hollow Farm
  • Jen Miller, Prairie Wind Farm
  • Deborah Niemann-Boehle, Antiquity Oaks
  • Traci Barkley, Sola Gratia Farm
  • Jill Rendellmen, All Seasons Farm
  • Wes Jarrell & Leslie Cooperband, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery
  • Jeff Hake, Funk’s Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains
  • Andy Hazzard, Hazzard Free Farms
  • Ann Swanson, Hendrick House Farm

The Local Food Caucus Kick-Off event is open to all farmers that sell into local markets. To participate in the ongoing work and decision-making of the caucus following the Kick-Off event, you must be a member of Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Your membership helps sustain the work of the caucus to organize farmers and campaign on the issues you care about. Scholarships for BIPOC farmers are provided by Chicago Food Policy Action Council.

Why Should I Join? 

The word “caucus” has Native American origins as the Algonquian word for “counsel.” Farmers in the Local Food Farmer Caucus serve as counselors and advisers, not just to the Alliance, but to each other.

When you join the Alliance’s Local Food Farmer Caucus, you can count on ongoing opportunities to:

  • Meet and network with other like-minded farmers who share your passion for local food,
  • Shape a local food policy agenda,
  • Sharpen your skills as a leader of the local food movement, and
  • Get the latest insider intel on programs and policies that impact the local food economy. 

Caucus members will weigh in on our advocacy agenda, drive adoption of diversified farming practices, speak out on the need for greater transparency in the food system, raise awareness for local supply chains, and educate decision-makers on issues that impact local food farmers.