Local Food & Sustainable Agriculture Policy Updates from Our Friends at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance

April 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm

There’s a lot of talk these days about changing the food system. It’s true. Much needs to be changed. It is also changing. Now. Our friends at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, who work diligently to improve the food system in Illinois, provide us with these updates on recent matters.

State Policy Developments/Issues

  •  HB 2335 and HB 3319 legislation to reform composting laws in order to make it easier for rural and urban agriculture to compost on farm both passed the House Environment Committee unanimously just before the deadline and are now headed for votes on the full floor of the House. Read more about the passage in Agri-News.
  •  HB 1272 legislation that declares the first Saturday of every month Eat Local Buy Illinois Day passed the full House by a vote of 103-6. HB 1271 is an initiative of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Read more about the bill in an article from the Illinois Times.
  • To read a full list of all the food and farm related legislation that ISA is tracking click here.

Federal Policy Developments/Issues:

  • Proposed rules for the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), that total well over one-thousand pages were released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January setting in motion a public comment period that ends in mid May. FSMA is the first major overhaul to the U.S. food safety system since the 1930s and a lot of family farmers, local food and sustainable agriculture advocates are worried about the impact of those rules. If the rules are not done in a scale and risk appropriate way it could be a game changer for local food… say good bye to knowing your farmer and your food. This is the single biggest issue facing the future of local food. It is of paramount importance that every farmer and local food supporter know about these rules and what they mean; to help in this task the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been analyzing the rules line by line and just launched a new website to help people understand the law, the proposed rules, potential impacts and how to comment and make sure FDA gets the rules right. You can find that website and sign-up for updates by clicking here. Stay tuned for more information and action alerts!
  • Remember that thing called the Farm Bill everyone was talking about last year? Well it’s back! Both the House and Senate have indicated that they are planning to start work on the next 5-year Farm Bill later in April. Rumor has it that U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree will be introducing a new updated version of the U.S. Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act next week. Stay tuned for more information about the contents of the legislation and how you can get involved in the effort to get those provisions included in the 2013 Farm Bill.