March 25, 2015

Help protect Illinois’ seed libraries by calling your State Representative today!

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AUA is backing the Illinois Stewardship Alliance‘s campaign to pass HB 2487, which will protect community seed libraries from unnecessary regulation by exempting them from Illinois commercial seed laws. Over the last year, several departments of agriculture in other states started regulating and shutting down seed libraries under the auspices that they violated their state’s commercial seed laws.

Lets not let that happen here in Illinois!

Call Your Illinois State Representative now and ask them to co-sponsor House Bill 2487.

For everything you need to know about the legislation and contacting your State Representative in support of it (including how to find who your State Rep is), CLICK HERE.

We’ll be at ISA’s annual Local Food Lobby Day in Springfield tomorrow to build support for the passage of HB 2487 and other legislation that promotes sustainable local agriculture, so let’s make sure that this issue is fresh in legislators’ minds by calling them about it TODAY!

March 18, 2015

Join AUA for Local Food Lobby Day on March 25

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AUA is teaming up with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) for this year’s Local Food Lobby Day in Springfield on March 25, and we hope that you’ll join us to make sure that state legislators from Chicago hear us loud and clear!

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the strength and vitality of Chicago’s urban agriculture community, so we hope that you’ll come!

The day will start with a legislation overview, training, orientation, and lunch, so fret not if you’ve never participated in something like this before! For more information about the Local Food Lobby Day and to register, see here.

Here is a more in depth look at the policy matters at hand:

  • Expanding IL Cottage Food Law to expand list of sellable homemade food products and allow them to be sold through farm stands and CSA in addition to farmers markets. HB2486 can be reviewed here.
  • Rewriting IL Co-op Law (originally written for farm co-ops in the early 1900s) to better reflect reality and needs of food/grocery co-ops.
  • Creating a program to provide matching grants needed for farmers markets to continue their “Double Up Food Bucks” SNAP incentive programs.
  • Amending the Illinois Seed Law to exempt seed libraries from its licensing, testing, labeling, and other requirements. The full piece of legislation (HB2487) can be reviewed here, and we strongly encourage you to call your State Representative in support of the bill before Lobby Day. Don’t know who your IL State Representative is? You can look it up via your mailing address by clicking here.

Let us know if you’re planning on coming by emailing info@auachicago.org. We’ll be coordinating rides, so please indicate if you’ll be driving and whether you’ll have room for other passengers from Chicago, or if you’re looking for a ride.

March 15, 2015

AUA at the Good Food Festival & Conference

AUA has been hard at work to ensure a strong urban ag presence at next week’s Good Food Festival & Conference panels and presentations! We are hoping to have just as strong of a turnout among the urban ag community.

GFF

We are happy to be partnering with Family Farmed to offer a 30% discount on tickets, which you can purchase here.

Be sure to check out the following urban ag related activities which we have helped organize:

-Farm Hack-Join farmers from around the regional foodshed in an open session to share your best farm hacks: innovative techniques and tools that you’ve developed or discovered to save time, energy and, of course, money.  From root washers to chicken feeders, discuss your best ideas and systems, and present your prickly problems to other farmers.  Urban and rural farmers are both welcome to attend and invited to bring prototypes or photos to share on the main stage screen (please bring images on a pen drive). This session will take place Friday at noon.

-Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project Launch-Find out about this useful tool during the closing of the Farm Hack Session on Friday and in the Good Food Commons at 3pm Saturday.

-Good Food Commons-Cultivate your curiosity with more than 50 mini-workshops on cooking, preserving, gardening, and community building in the Good Food Commons on Saturday from 10am-2:50pm.

-Policy and Producer Tracks-The Good Food Policy Conference brings together public and private stakeholders to discuss food policy issues affecting the production, distribution, and access to local food, while the Production track will help producers scale up, grow sustainably, and sell more of their food!

Volunteers are needed on Saturday. Contact us at program@auachicago.org if you are interested in helping and receiving free admission!

February 26, 2015

#AUAFrostyPhoto Contest

With the days already getting longer, growers all over Chicago are looking forward to starting up again in spring. Send us a picture of what your growing space looks like under the ice or how you are preparing for the thaw.

Send your submissions to info@auachicago.org or tweet to us at @AUAChicago with the hastag ‪#‎AUAFrostyPhoto‬.

 

Frosty Photo

 

The submission with the most “Favorites” on Twitter will be declared the winner, so be sure to vote and retweet! The deadline for submitting your photos is March 23rd, with voting concluding March 31st.

The winner of the #AUAFrostyPhoto Contest will receive 2 12-oz. jars of honey generously donated by the Chicago Honey Coop. A perfect addition to a warm cup of tea for the chilly winter days that remain!

12oz+honey

The winner of the #AUAFrostyPhoto Contest will receive 2 jars of honey from the Chicago Honey Coop!