You care about food. You care about farms. You care about clean water, healthy soils, and the well-being of your community. You’re concerned with the current state of our food system– the declining number of family farmers and the shift to corporate control– and you’re ready to join the movement for change. What can you do?
The answer is way more fun than you think!
Host a “Dishing on the Farm Bill” party.
This year, Congress is working on the 2018 Farm Bill– the major food and agriculture package that comes around about every 5 years. The Farm Bill determines funding for everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets policies that will decide what type of food ends up on our plates and what type of farming practices are encouraged or discouraged. In order to insure that local food and sustainable farming are a priority for the next 5 years, Congress needs to hear from us.
With three members of Congress from Illinois on the House Agriculture Committee, folks in our state have a unique opportunity to shape the future of food and farming in this country. Now is the time to grab your friends and speak up!
Step 1: Become a Host
Hosting a “Dishing on the Farm Bill” party is a simple and fun way to get your favorite people together and make a difference. Hosts agree to provide a venue for the get-together and invite friends for the purpose of discussing the 2018 Farm Bill and helping guests write letters to their representatives in support of local food and sustainable farming. Whether you want to host a happy hour, Saturday morning coffee break, or full on dinner party, it totally up to you.
Step 2: Download the “Dishing on the Farm Bill” Kit
Hosting is easy peasy with our “Dishing on the Farm Bill” kit. We’ve included everything you need to know for hosting a get-together, including invites, a party planning guide, menu inspiration and more!
Step 3: Select a Date
Check out the on the calendar below listing all of the dates when Illinois Stewardship Alliance staff may be available to attend your event. Illinois Stewardship Alliance staff will prepare a short presentation and discussion outlining the issues facing farmers and eaters, and the need for the local FARMS Act to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The staff-person will also bring materials to help your guests simply and easily write letters to their representatives. Use the calendar to Sign Up for the perfect date and get your party started!
*Alternatively, you can download the Farm Bill Presentation Package (Coming Soon!) and present on the Farm Bill yourself.
Step 4: Invite your Friends
You’ve got options! U.S. Mail, email, or Facebook are all great ways to reach your friends, and we’ve made it easy to choose your favorite method of contact. Find invites and graphics for all three methods in the Dishing on the Farm Bill Kit here:
Step 5: Sip, Snack, and Socialize
You’ve bought a cheese plate and prepared a pitcher of margaritas. Now it’s time to sip, snack, and socialize with your guests! The goal of the evening is for everyone to walk away feeling good about writing a letter to their representative and excited to continue to grow and advocate for the changes they want to see. Don’t worry about creating the perfect party appetizer and don’t stress when you run out of ice. Have fun and feel good knowing you are doing good!
Step 6: Share!
Use the hashtag #dishingonthefarmbill when posting on social media, and encourage your guests to do the same. Let’s keep the conversation rolling around local food and farms and create some real change!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does it cost to sign up?
It’s absolutely free!
- What’s in the Dishing on the Farm Bill Kit?
- Invitation and Thank You Sample Text PDF
- House Party Planning Guide PDF
- Menu Inspiration PDF
- Dishing on the Farm Bill Agenda PDF
- Sample Social Media Posts
- Postcard Invite Graphic
- Facebook Event Graphic
- ISA logo Graphic
- 3-4 Social Media Graphics (with stats on why local food/farms are important)
- Do I need to know anything about the Farm Bill before I sign up?
Nope! An Illinois Stewardship Alliance representative will attend your event and lead a presentation and discussion for your group, so you have all the info you need!
- Do I need to prepare a presentation?
Not if you don’t want to! A knowledgeable Alliance representative will have a presentation on the Farm Bill ready to go, but if you feel comfortable and passionate talking about the topic, you can work with your Alliance representative to present as much or as little as you’d like.
- What’s in the Farm Bill Presentation Package that the Alliance Representative will bring to my event?
- 1 Sign-in Sheet
- 15 ISA brochures
- 15 ISA membership sign up cards
- 15 “What’s in the Local Farms Act” Fact Sheets
- 15 “Tips for Writing a Letter to Your Legislator” Guides
- Writing paper (ISA letterhead?)
- Envelopes and Stamps
- How many people should I invite?
That’s up to you! We suggest groups of 10 -15, but it could be more or less.
- Do I have to buy food from local farms for this event?
The menu is totally up to you! We’ve included tips for sourcing locally in the Kit, but don’t sweat it if you are having trouble finding local food or if it doesn’t fit in your budget—that’s why you’re hosting this event—to make local food more accessible and affordable.