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Food & Farm Resume

2021-present
FOOD + FARMS + DEMOCRACY (U.S. and International)

ON-GOING ACTIVITIES

General outreach, networking, and messaging through Twitter, listservs, blogs, email, Zoom, etc., to promote participatory democracy throughout the food & farm economy.

In 2021 I began to work more internationally, as opportunities have arisen. But I still work primarily in the U.S. because
a. This is where I have social and political standing (I was born here, lived here most of my life, and vote here)
b. The U.S. is most responsible for the rootless, dispirited cultural, political, economic, and climate confusion in which the entire world is currently trying to survive

I work at all levels, wherever there is geo-political cohesion and/or jurisdiction:
—hyperlocal: Evanston, IL
—local: Cook County, IL and Chicago metro
—state: Illinois
—region: Midwest
—national: U.S.
—international: N. America, western hemisphere, the Earth

I especially look for any opportunity to engage with voters, media, officials, and candidates, including but not limited to the following activities:
— Climate stabilization & restoration through food & farm policy
— Women’s public authority
— Monetary & banking reforms

RECENT DOCUMENTS, BLOGS, etc.

— All of my food & farm blogs can be found here Food & Farm Policy.
— Jan. 2022 Blog: EDIBLE ACRE at ETHS (Evanston, IL): A story of networking, political will, and community on behalf of a local high school 
— 2021: Transcript – History of organic & sustainable agriculture. Interview of Debbie Hillman by Anneliese Abbott, for oral history project and thesis (Master’s degree, University of Wisconsin).
— 2021: LEAVE THE LEAVES: Urban Soils, Urban Consciousness. The 2021 edition of the New Farmers Almanac (v. 5: Grand Land Plan) contains a version of this blog.  

2014-2020  
U.S. FOOD, FARMS, DEMOCRACY

General outreach and networking at all levels (local, state, regional, national) through Twitter, listservs, blogs, etc. to promote participatory democracy throughout the U.S. food & farm system. I especially look for any opportunity to engage with voters, media, officials, and candidates, including but not limited to the following activities:

  • Work formally and informally with the Parity Education Research Team (PERT), a weekly study group looking to (a) enforce current U.S. parity agriculture law, and (b) educate farmers, legislators, voters, etc. Members represent National Organization for Raw Materials (NORM), American Monetary Institute (AMI), Alliance For Just Money (AFJM), Green Party.
  • Support Regeneration Midwest, a 12-state coalition promoting regenerative agriculture
  • Educate and advocate for impeachment of D.J. Trump, U.S. president
  • Draft and promote food & farm platforms for U.S. elections (2018, 2020)
  • Ask The Money Question and promote current answers (the NEED Act, Green New Deal, public banks, etc.)
  • Promote & support U.S. food-and-farm policy councils
  • Promote women’s collective public authority (women’s councils codified in U.S. legal structures)
  • Design & promote book club to read U.S. Constitution + Iroquois Constitution (plus secondary sources)

2011-2014  
TRANSITION:  SELF-EDUCATION AND EXPERIMENTATION

SELF-EDUCATION
Co-ops
Public banking
Single payer health care
Indigenous models of self-governance
Participatory budgeting
Crowdfunding

EXPERIMENTS
Food Vote 2012:  Illinois Survey to find Food Candidates
Food Vote 2012:  National Survey to find Food Candidates
Congressional candidate briefing on food-and-farm (Illinois 10th Congressional District, Brad Schneider, 2012)
Food Systems 101: Class
Evanston Eats: Double website to document all components of a local food economy and to show interconnections between policy and economy
—Food Vote 2013: Food Citizenship + Participatory Democracy
—Field to Fork:  Community Food Chain + Virtual Incubator
Public Banking Coalition

2005-2014  
LOCAL FOOD AND FARM SYSTEM WORK
Evanston, Chicago, Cook County, Greater Chicago, Illinois, Midwest

POSITIONS
2005-2014  Evanston Food Policy Council, Co-founder and co-chairperson
2008-2010  State of Illinois task force created by the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act, Co-founder and co-coordinator

POLICY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

State
2007-10  State of Illinois food & farm plan
Two bills passed: Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act
—2007 created 2-year task force (passed unanimously)
—2009 adopted report, plan, and created permanent council (unanimous but one vote)
Report: Local Food, Farms, and Jobs:  Growing the Illinois Economy 
— Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs Plan 
— Local Food, Farms & Jobs Council

Regional
2008-09  Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)
“Go to 2040” comprehensive plan
— First local food recommendation in CMAP history

County
2011-12  Suburban Cook County Food Systems Steering Committee
— Food system assessment
— Draft ordinance: county-level food council

Municipal
2006-10 The Talking Farm (an urban farm)
Worked with City of Evanston, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), and Village of Skokie to secure land

2008-09  Edible Acre Pilot Project at Evanston Township High School

2009-10  Evanston, IL backyard chicken ordinance
City of Evanston enacted coop licensing law, allowing up to 6 chickens

MEMBERSHIPS: Boards, Committees, Working Groups, Listservs

  • Good Greens USDA FNS (Midwest Office): broaden coalition, find projects aligned with FNS mission (2010-20)
  • Cook County Food System Steering Committee. Member (2011-12)
    Food system assessment and creation of a county-level food council
  • Evanston Healthy Community Task Force, Founding member (2009-13)
  • Friends of the Evanston Farmers Markets, Founding member (2010-13)
  • Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity. Member, Leadership Council (2010-12)
  • Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED Chicago@UIC). Member, Food Equity Policy Committee (2009-11)
    — Urban Farm Tours for targeted groups (legislators, funders, government staff)
    — Workshop for planners and urban farmers
    — Data collection on access to local food
  • Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. Member, Steering Committee (2008-10)
  • Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Member – Food Systems Advisory Committee (2008-09)
    Write regional food section for “Go to 2040” comprehensive plan.
  • Cook County Department of Public Health. Member, Sustainable Food Systems Expert Team (2010)
  • Illinois Farm to School Working Group. Member, coordinating committee (2009-10)
  • Illinois Farmers Market Network. Member, Planning Committee (2008-10)
  • Illinois Fresh Food Fund. Member, Sen. Jacqueline Collins’ advisory team (2009-10)
  • Illinois Public Health Association. Member, Food & Nutrition Section (2010)
  • Illinois Local Food & Farms Coalition, Yahoo email group: co-founder & manager (2007-10)
  • Network for Evanston’s Future. Member, Steering Committee (2003-10)
  • The Land Connection: Board member, board president (2006-08)
  • The Talking Farm: Founding board member (2006-10)
  • Edible Acre Pilot Project at Evanston Township High School: co-founder (2008-10)

PROJECTS
Long-term

  • League of Women Voters (Glenview, IL chapter). Food and water policy guidance to state and national conventions, state issues committee (2010-12)
  • McHenry County, Planning department: technical assistance in creating a food council (2010-12)
  • Northwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy. Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC): content expert, resourcing
    2009-10 Foundations Class
    (Local food procurement for schools) 2010-11 Foundations Class and Practicums (Illinois farm-to-schoolchildren supply chain)
  • Oakton Community College: Faculty development workshops on healthy food systems to help faculty create student service learning projects (2010-11)
  • State of Illinois. Various departments, offices, staffpeople. (2009- )
    Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council.
    Resources, networking, analysis
    Illinois Department of Corrections.
    Resources on skills training during incarceration and re-entry.
    Office of the Governor, Sustainability Policy.
    Policy and project updates, award recommendations.
    Green Government Council.
    Local food procurement, food scrap composting.
    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    – Chicago office. Resourcing, networking.

Short-term

  • Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy (2010). Events planning in conjunction with visit by Elaine Weiss, author of Fruits of Victory: Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War
  • DePaul University. “Food and Politics” class: Gauge awareness of Illinois Food, Farms, & Jobs Act (2010)
  • Fresh Taste. Issues and trends identified by Illinois Local & Organic Food & Farm Task Force (2009)
  • Hull House Museum Re-thinking Soup Kitchen. List of potential speakers
  • Loyola University, CUERP. Advanced Food Systems class (2009-10)
  • McHenry County College, Bioneers Planning for Symposium, “Food: How it’s all Connected” (2010)
  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Social Entrepreneurship in Health and Wellness Challenge (2010-11): improving healthy food access in food deserts. Mentor & expert advisor.
  • Real Food Challenge: Midwest Summit (2010). Resourcing, networking
  • Shawnash Institute (2009) Community food assessment for social service agencies
    High school curricula: food systems, career paths in local farm and food economy
  • WCPT Radio. “Growing Local” campaign and Mike Nowak show (2009)

GUEST SPEAKER (representative sample)
Conferences, Forums, Films

  • American Corn Growers Association annual conference (2007)
  • Chicago Food Summit (2008)
  • “Fresh” the Movie – Chicago premiere (2010)
  • Green Festival – Chicago (2008)
  • Green Town – College of Lake County (2010)
  • Heartland Bioneers – Carbondale (2007)
  • Illinois Dietetics Association (Chicago, 2009, 2010)
  • Illinois Food Summit (Kankakee, 2008)
  • Slow Food USA – Governors Forum (Chicago, 2007)

Classes

  • Northwestern University, Public Policy (Alba Alexander, 2011)
  • DePaul University, The Urban Pastoral – Farms, Gardens and the City (Hugh Bartling, 2011)
  • Loyola University, Food Systems (Adam Schubel, 2009, 2010)
  • Roosevelt University, Writing Social Justice class (Kim Ruffin, 2009, 2010)
  • University of Illinois Chicago, Food Systems class (Curt Winkle, 2009)