The Illinois Stewardship Alliance works to create better eaters and better stewards of the land. At the state and federal levels, they advocate for policies and programs that will lead to a better food system. They connect farmers and consumers and promote programs that work to educate commodity producers on conservation practices.
Food Tank had the opportunity to speak with Wes King, Executive Director at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
Food Tank (FT): How do you contribute to creating a better food system?
Wes King (WK): Through our Buy Fresh, Buy Local Central Illinois Chapter, Local Flavors Dinner and Lunch Series and Band of Farmers the Chicagoland CSA coalition, we work to connect consumers to farmers by organizing and promoting opportunities for consumers to vote with their fork and eat good food.
Through our policy advocacy program we are “Moving Beyond the Fork” and working at the state and federal level to develop and support forward looking policies and programs that will help to create a better food system. Through our conservation program we work directly with commodity producers to educate them about practices such as cover crops and programs such as the federal Conservation Stewardship Program that will help them to be better stewards of the land.
FT: What is a project, program, or result you are most proud of?
WK: We are very proud of a number of policy changes in Illinois that we have championed, from reforming composting laws to better support urban agriculture to the creation of Illinois’ Cottage Food law but we are most proud of the critical behind the scenes role we played in working with former Central Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson’s office and the Fair Food Network to get the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program into the federal Farm Bill.
FT: What are your goals for 2015 and beyond?
WK: We will continue to promote opportunities for consumers to connect with farmers and vote with their fork for a better food system while also working with more commodity producers to encourage and help farmers to incorporate more small edible grains into their operations. We also plan to focus heavily on educating small farmers about new rules and regulations associated with the Food Safety Modernization act to help them understand and be in compliance with them, so they can continue to do what they do best – grow healthy local food for Illinois families.
FT: In one sentence, what is the most important thing eaters and consumers can do today to support a more sustainable food system?
WK: “Move Beyond the Fork” and become an advocate for good food policy.
FT: How can individuals become more involved in your organization?
WK: Sign up to receive our newsletters and policy action alerts and become a supporter by donating now!
Download the 2014 Good Food Org Guide HERE.
Submit your suggestions for the 2015 guide HERE.