I recently attended my first board meeting for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA). The Alliance seeks to promote local food and connect local farmers with restaurants and institutions that can use their products. The ISA also serves as a lobbying group in Springfield.
It was great to be part of a group of like-minded individuals, trying to make a difference for small-scale farms.
Mission: Illinois Stewardship Alliance promotes environmentally sustainable, economically viable, socially just, local food systems through policy development, advocacy, and education.
Vision: We envision a system where soils are treated as a precious resource, local food producers earn a fair, living wage, local food education is integrated into all levels of education, infrastructure is rebuilt to accommodate local food systems and good food is available for all.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) is a membership-based organization. If you are local food producer, concerned citizen or food-systems related organization, we invite you to join us! Alliance members span the state and have one thing in common: they all care about the food that is produced and consumed in Illinois and want to support the increase of fresh, local foods. Click here to find out how you can become part of the Alliance.
Donor Policy: Illinois Stewardship Alliance receives grant funding and donations from entities that have a mission that aligns with our basic tenets (see above)
Check out this article by Patricia Foreman if you are interested in legalizing chickens in your town. She addresses the most common arguments against backyard birds in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner.
Many municipalities have their laws online. See if you can find your location’s legal code. You can also see if your town is included in this site’s database.
A legal clause prohibits people in Canton, NY, from raising chickens. But the townspeople are interested in changing that. For more on this story, check out this article.
At a board of trustees meeting on February 22, 2013, Arlington Heights again rejected backyard hens. Mary Green, Matt Scallon, and a contingent of chicken supporters, including Home to Roost, showed up for the meeting and made a valiant effort, but to no avail.
Mary’s letter follows:
Dear Backyard Chicken Supporters,
Thank you all for your words of encouragement, and a special shout out to those who attended and spoke at tonight’s meeting!
The Arlington Heights Village Board voted to deny both my and Matt’s variance requests.
We were given our (brief) time to speak, but it was clear from the onset that some of the Trustees were offended by the fact that the issue was even being brought up again (Matt went before them in Feb. 2012). Some of them believed that the 7-2 vote at last year’s meeting indicated that the Board was voting against having chickens altogether. Period.
In fact, they hadn’t changed the language of the ordinance and that enabled us to bring our petitions up this time. There was a valiant effort by one Trustee to discuss how to define a “customary” pet, but overall their minds were made up.
I see the experience as successful in that we energized the discussion and had an opportunity to educate people about the benefits and misconceptions of backyard chickens.
Historically, many proposals brought before the Board in the past have been met with strong opposition (including paved roads and a sewer system). A movement like ours won’t go away, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and change will come.
Palatine has given its stamp of approval to hens.
The Palatine Village Council voted 4-2 in favor of allowing petitioner Steven Brosio to house six hens in a chicken coop on his 1.8 acres of property.
For more information, check out this article.
Join Mary Green and Matt Scallon on Tues., January 22nd at 8pm as they go before the Village Board of Trustees to request permission to keep backyard chickens.
They need as many supporters as possible to attend the meeting on the 3rd floor of Village Hall (33 S. Arlington Heights Road). Matt and Mary will both be speaking, and it would be great if a few residents could also speak in support of allowing backyard chickens in Arlington Heights. You can sign up that night before the meeting starts.
If you’re not inclined toward public speaking, you can write a short message in support of their efforts. Contact Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a list of the benefits and misconceptions around backyard chickens you can use in your letter.