In 2011, the Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC) began advising the volunteer leadership of the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council (ILFFJC or Council).
The Council represents an experiment in community empowerment. Authorized by the Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act of 2009, the Council was envisioned by the General Assembly as a community-led coordinating body to facilitate development of local food and farm systems statewide.
In 2011, the Council submitted its first annual report to the General Assembly in accordance with statutory requirements. Entitled “Local Food, Farms and Jobs: Building the Foundation,” the report chronicled Council efforts to “facilitate a creative environment that will germinate and grow local food networks in Illinois communities statewide through the bridging of all local food efforts: grassroots to Government, small farms to corporate agriculture, urban to rural Illinois. “
In July 2013, the Council authorized volunteer directors Bob Heuer and Johari Cole-Kweli to prepare a timeline of the Council’s history for the particular benefit of a new body of gubernatorial appointees to the Council. Mr. Heuer and Ms. Cole-Kweli had been among the original board appointed by Gov. Quinn to launch the Council in 2010. (Ms. Cole-Kweli had previously served on the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force which had been authorized through a 2007 state law to present a state local food system plan.)
In September 2013, Mr. Heuer and Ms. Cole-Kweli submitted their report. At that time, they also proposed formation of an ad hoc committee to finalize the draft report for submission to the General Assembly in accordance with ILFFJC’s statutory requirements.
The Council has met three times since the draft report was submitted. Its Executive Committee has yet to schedule an agenda item to discuss the report’s findings.
Mr. Heuer and Ms. Cole-Kweli believe the people of Illinois have a right to know about Council efforts over the last four years to carry out its legislative mandate. They have asked CAC to provide this public service.
CAC is now providing assistance to the leaders of ILFFJC by offering them use of our virtual civic space to post the following information:
(1) The Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force report of 2009 which recommended the creation of the Council.
(2) The text of Public Act 096-0579 Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act is also included as a reference.
(3) The Council’s 2010 report to the Illinois General Assembly.
(4) The 2013 Illinois Food, Farm and Jobs Council draft report “Building on Seven Years of Grassroots Accomplishments: A New Approach to Community Development for Illinois,” Co-authored by Mr. Heuer and Ms. Cole-Kweli, the report chronicles the challenges and struggles by the Council to execute its legislative mission.