Please share your best practices, ideas, and stories about community-based food, nutrition and agriculture initiatives that can help reduce hunger and poverty in Illinois.
Note: Input posted on this Citizen Advocacy Center blog will be considered for inclusion in a policy statement that Illinois State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) plans to present this spring to the Illinois General Assembly. As chair of the Illinois House Human Services Committee, Rep. Gabel wants to increase community participation in efforts to improve the delivery of services for the people of Illinois.
Policy statement concepts to include:
• Self-reliance principles that underpin about a dozen state local food laws passed since 2007
• Emphasis on nutritional goals supporting development from prenatal care through high school
• Community asset alignment strategies to foster multi-sector dialogue/collaboration
• Socially-responsible investment strategies to leverage approximately $4 billion a year in federal feeding program funds for Illinois
• Statewide networking capability developed through gubernatorial advisory councils partners for local network empowerment include the four state entities listed below. Representatives from these entities have expressed an interest in working together to encourage on-the-ground projects that aim to reduce hunger and poverty in Illinois.
1. Illinois Local Food Farms and Jobs Council
Authorized by a 2009 state law, this community-led coordinating body is charged with facilitating local food system development throughout Illinois.
2. Illinois Commission to End Hunger
Emerging strategies include increasing fresh food access through partnerships between Illinois’ food pantries and farmers markets
3. Illinois Commission to Eliminate Poverty
Urban farm pilot’s transitional job program reflects strategic plan excerpt: “…the best solutions for poverty (often times) come from local innovation.”
4. Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise
Successes include persuading state government to authorize the creation of low-profit limited liability corporations and social impact bonds
Please share your input for Rep. Gabel’s policy proposal:
Lead writer will be public policy & marketing strategist Bob Heuer. Since 2010, he has served as a Gov. Pat Quinn appointee to the Illinois Local Food Farms and Jobs Council. Heuer represents the Evanston Food Exchange—a community group developing plans for a year-round farmers market in the north suburban Chicago suburb.
On March 26, Heuer and fellow Council director Johari Cole-Kweli will seek input on this proposal in testimony to the Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise. (4pm; 160 N. LaSalle; Chicago.) Cole is a sustainable agriculture consultant and organic farmer in Pembroke Township, Kankakee County—a rural area 50 miles south of Chicago.
On March 30, Heuer will present the policy statement at a community forum convened by Rep. Gabel and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie.) The forum will take place from 12:00-1:30pm at Evanston Ecology Center (2024 N. McCormick Blvd., Evanston.)
Public Policy & Marketing Strategist
Director/Illinois Local Food Farms Jobs Council