AUA’s Board of Directors has officially voted to support the following legislation! Let’s all do our part – contact your state legislators today and ask them to vote for and co-sponsor the following bills. Illinois’ regular legislative session ends on May 31st, so we have less than a month to get them through Springfield.
Each of these bills would improve statewide policy that affects urban agriculture in Chicago. Read on for details and click here to contact your state legislator today! When calling your legislators, be sure to reference each bill number (“HB” refers to “House Bill”, “SB” to “Senate Bill”, and “HR” to “House Resolution”). Politely tell your legislator you’re a constituent and why you care about these local issues!
- Illinois Food Freedom (HB 3063): greatly expands the homemade foods that could be sold under the current cottage food law, particularly value-added vegetable products.
- Local Food Business Opportunities (HB 2820/SB 1469): streamlines Farmers Markets food sanitation rules, which currently vary widely from county to county.
- Industrial Hemp (SB 1294): creates an opportunity for IL farmers and processors to apply for permits to grow and manufacture industrial hemp (which, by definition, has less than 0.3% of the psychoactive substance found in other cannabis, so it is not a drug). Hemp can be made into at least 25,000 different products, including everything from rope and cloth to plastic and cosmetics.
- Local Food Resolution (SR 377/HR 277): This resolution is a message from the Illinois State Legislature urging Congress to support local food programs in the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Urban Agriculture Zones (HB 3418): creates urban agriculture zones. This would provide a number of benefits including freezing property taxes within the zone for 25 years, allow for wholesale water rates, and a reduction in water connection charges.
- Refer to our partners at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for a complete description of each bill and its current status.
Here’s an opportunity to participate in some big wins for sustainable local food economies. Contact your state legislator today!