I am writing to you today to make a serious plea for your financial support for Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA). ISA is the only statewide advocacy organization dedicated to advancing local food systems in Illinois and
ISA is a small non-profit: we employ 2 full time and 2 part-time staff yet we are doing so much to support local food systems from Springfield to Washington DC. Current initiatives include:
· The recent formation of the Illinois Local Food and Farm Grassroots Policy Advisory Committee to provide a forum for local food producers, local food/sustainable agriculture organizations and citizens to discuss how policies impact Illinois’ local food systems and how to address them.
· The Campaign for Cottage Food supports aspiring local food entrepreneurs by permitting home processing for low-risk foods like jams, jellies and baked goods.
· Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois – We are gearing up for our fourth year of spreading the “Buy Fresh Buy Local” message and expanding to cover 34 counties in central Illinois. The campaign connects local food producers with restaurants, retailers, consumers and others looking for local food to encourage support of local farmers and increase the economic viability of small farms.
· Local Flavors, our successful farm-to-restaurant series is going statewide! This August we plan to hold events across the state, from barbecue joints to white table cloth restaurants, helping to build relationships between farmers and buyers.
· ISA was thrilled to announce the first round of18 Golden Beet Awards to recognize the innovative activities bringing local foods to Illinois communities and raise awareness about the important work happening in schools, at farmers markets and .
· The Springfield Area Local Food Task Force conducted an economic impact study and we are spreading the word about how we can boost our local economy ($100 million in new farm income if residents from Sangamon and surrounding counties purchased just 15% of their food from local farmers). The Task Force formed a sub-committee who is organizing a Farm-to-School Summit to be held in Springfield in the fall of 2011.
ISA staff is also providing leadership and ensuring grassroots representation on the Illinois Local Food, Farms and Jobs Council, Illinois Farm to School Network Advisory Committee, Illinois Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Professional Development Program Advisory Committee and more.
We have set a short-term fundraising goal of $17,500 to address to maintain operations until additional funding comes through. We currently have raised $7,280 of that total and are seeking $5,000 in sponsorships. We have several strategies for reaching our goal and part of that is asking for your help. We need to raise $5,220 from direct donations and memberships from people like you; people who care about where their food comes from and want to support Illinois small farms and local foods.
Click here to make a donation today.
Click here to become a member.