April 15, 2015

AUA Spring 2015 Newsletter

Spring is here, and we have a lot to tell you about! In addition to reporting on a super productive Winter and early Spring filled with events and projects, we’re also excited to share what’s in store for AUA’s most bountiful growing season yet.

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In this edition of AUA’s E-Newsletter you’ll find:

  • Upcoming meetings and events, including this year’s Spring Gathering – “Promoting Cross-Cultural Pollination”
  • An introduction to our new Urban Agriculture Map & Directory
  • A close look at this issue’s featured urban agriculture project, the Academy for Global Citizenship
  • The 2nd installment of our series celebrating 2015, the International Year of Soils – “The Sweet Smell of Compost”
  • The Winner of our Winter Photo Contest!
  • A featured post from AUA’s blog about efforts to change Chicago’s “weed ordinance”
  • Reports from recent events like AUA’s Winter Gathering/Urban Livestock Expo and Local Food Lobby Day
  • The latest from our Working Groups
  • And more!

Huge thanks to all of the wonderful Connections Working Group members and other volunteers for contributing to this e-newsletter!
April 2, 2015

AUA Spring Gathering 2015: Promoting Cross-Cultural Pollination

Join us for our Spring Gathering on Saturday April 18!
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Free – All are welcome.

AUA is proud to host a showing of the documentary Tierralismo as part of the Good Earth Film Tour. Join us in welcoming award-winning filmmaker Alejandro Ramirez and Isis Salcines, cofounder of one of Cuba’s most successful organic farms, Organopónico Vivero Alamar. The film screening will be followed by a dynamic conversation between our Cuban guests and leaders of garden networks from across Chicago.

Screening of Tierralismo – View an award-winning documentary about Cuba’s thriving urban agriculture scene

Cross-Cultural Knowledge Share – Take part in a discussion about community-led agriculture with garden pioneers from Cuba and diverse parts of Chicago

Potluck – We will have a potluck lunch, so please bring an item to share.

Community Slideshow – Show off your garden or farm to Chicago! Send 1-3 photos to info@auachicago.org by April 16th and prepare a 1-2 sentence explanation to share with the audience.

Plus Tours of Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse & Garden!

Advocates for Urban Agriculture Spring Gathering
Saturday, April 18
12:30-3:30pm

Kilbourn Park Fieldhouse, 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave

If you are on Facebook, be sure to RSVP here.

 Volunteers are also needed. Please contact program@auachicago.org if you are able to assist!

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.