All across Illinois and the U.S. lawmakers are beginning to take notice of the growing demand for local food systems. Illinois lawmakers are beginning to pay attention and the 2009 passage of the IL Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act, the 2011 Cottage Food Law and the 2012 Senate Resolution urging congress to adopt a farm bill that supports local food systems show just that. However this is not something that happened on its own. The great success of the local food movement is the result of Illinois farmers and citizens speaking up and letting their voices be heard!
One way you can help build legislative support for local food and promote positive policy changes is to meet with your legislators and tell them what issues are important to you.. Sound interesting? Illinois Stewardship Alliance has the perfect opportunity for you to join us in advocating for environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially just local food systems. Join us for our 5th Annual Local Food Awareness Day at the Capitol!
On Wednesday, March 26th, local food advocates, farmers, and citizens from across the state will come together in Springfield for Local Food Awareness Day to encourage their legislators to support local food and farms. Local Food Awareness Day will consist of a welcoming address, a civic engagement and lobbying training, a legislative update, and lunch. Following lunch we will descend upon the capitol to educate legislators about the importance of local food systems and advocate for positive policy solutions that support local food systems.
This year, there are several key pieces of legislation for which we will be lobbying. The first is House Bill 5657/Senate Bill 3380, also called the Farmers’ Market Regulatory Modernization Bill. This bill is intended to: create a simplified, consistent, and statewide process for vendors to offer samples at any and all farmers markets in Illinois; provide consistent and uniform regulations for farmers markets throughout the state; amend the IL Cottage Food law to address issues with interpretation and to cap the registration fee at a reasonable rate; and establish the Farmers’ Market Transparency Act which would require vendors to provide consumers with more information about the farm from which their food is being produced. You can read more about it here. The second piece of legislation is House Bill 5957 which would create a new microloan program for beginning farmers.
The agenda for the event is as follows:
When: March 26th, 2013, from 10:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (Check-in begins at 10:00 a.m.)
Where: The Illinois State Capitol Complex and the Illinois State Library Room 403/404 (300 South 2nd St., Springfield, IL 62701)
Training: On the morning of March 26th following the welcoming address at 10:30 a.m. in the State Library Room 403/404 we will review recent legislative activity on local food related legislation, go over what we will be doing to raise awareness about local food issues, discuss local food legislation that we will be lobbying for, teach you how to navigate the Capitol complex, and train you how to lobby and interact with your legislators.
Lunch: After the legislation overview, training, and orientation we will have a short working lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 12 noon. Following lunch we will walk to the Capitol to begin advocating for local food and sustainable agriculture.
Lobbying: After lunch we will begin our visits at the Capitol Complex to ask legislators for their support of local food and farm issues. We will lobby until around 3:00 p.m.
Cost: The cost for attending the lobbying training and orientation, lunch, and lobby day is FREE for ISA members. For non-members the cost is $10. Organizational members may register 2 FREE attendees. Additionally you may become a member now for the discounted price of $25 (1 year membership) which will allow you to attend lobby day for free.
Once you have completed the registration form by clicking on the link above, payment can be made online by using the Paypal feature below or by sending a check for the exact amount to:
Illinois Stewardship Alliance
230 Broadway, Suite 200
Springfield IL, 62701.