On Wednesday the Osmunds traveled to Springfield for Local Food Awareness Day sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) - http://www.ilstewards.org/.
Over 30 local food advocates from throughout the state converged mid-morning on Pasfield House (http://www.pasfieldhouse.com/) just a short walk from the capitol building. After introductions, Lindsay Record and Wes King of ISA taught us "Lobbying 101." Next, we joined our lobbying team and pored over lists of senators and representatives we wanted to see and plotted our stategy while deciphering maps of the Capitol and Stratton office building.
Fortified by lunch, prepared with talking points, loaded with information packets, and stocked with heirloom seed packets (thoughtfully donatated by Baker Creek Seeds (rareseeds.com) , we walked to the capitol.
Once through the security screening, we were set to spread the word about local foods.
A slight hiccup (and an explicit sign that more citizen lobbying is needed) ocurred when a capital police officer asked "Who's your lobbyist?"
Beth replied, "We're all lobbyists - citizen lobbyists."
"Ma'am, I don't think you understood my question" he replied rather pointedly.
Wes showed him his lobbyist id and quickly smoothed things over, but this dismissive attitude toward citizen participation in government was galvinizing.
We didn't speak with any representatives as they were in session; but we visited each of their offices and left our materials with their secretaries and staffers.
Onto the sentate! We did meet with our 38th District senator Sue Rezin (http://www.senatorrezin.com/).
Richard Osmund, Duncan Osmund, Senator Rezin, Beth Osmund, Jack Osmund, and Jody Osmund
After a visit to the gallery to watch some of the house proceedings with the boys, we regrouped at the ISA offices.
We hydrated with ice water, had the boys run off some steam in the yard, and enjoyed some quiet after the noisome capital, before heading back to the capitol for our meeting with Lt. Governor Sheila Simon (http://www.ltgov.illinois.gov/).
Our group of local food advocates from throughout the state discussed how Simon could use the bully pulpit of her office to further our efforts to build a local food economy in Illinois.
(Lt. Governor Simon with Beth and Jack Osmund)
(Simon, Deborah Cananaugh-Grant, & Dayna Conner)
(Wes King of ISA pulls out our lobbying materials – including a packet of seeds.)