Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Bill to expand tax credits draws on children's health data, Alaskans file petition opposing giant grocery merger, and a revised Colorado water plan prioritizes conservation.


President Biden is set to give the State of the Union address, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calls the national debt limit the United States' greatest threat, and Kamala Harris announces new pledges to offer more economic stability in Central America.


Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Public Leadership Program Aims to Bring Sustainable Food System to Illinois


Monday, March 7, 2022   

From farm to table, a public leadership program is working to bring more sustainable food systems to the greater Chicago area.

The HEAL Food Alliance's School of Public Leadership (SoPL) is helping warehouse workers and urban farmers to build inclusive, worker-focused food systems.

Felix Ortiz, community health navigator at the Joliet-based Warehouse Workers for Justice, is a member of the program's newest cohort. He said the initiative is helping his organization develop new tactics to advocate for better conditions in local warehouse operations.

"The warehousing industry doesn't really provide good and fair workplace standards for the community," Ortiz asserted. "So because we aren't getting paid well, our workers can't afford food."

The six-month program, which places an emphasis on BIPOC participation and leadership in local food systems, includes twelve community leaders spread across three different programs. In addition to the Warehouse Workers cohort, the program also includes an urban agriculture group based out of Chicago.

Ren Encinas, organizing steward at Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA), said their campaign for the program will build a base of BIPOC growers and residents to shape the work and policy of Chicago's Food Equity Council and its urban agriculture subgroup.

"By participating in the SoPL program, that's helping me as an organizing steward to develop a political education program that's grounded in our ancestral relationships to land and our ongoing legacies of land- and food-based resistance across Chicago," Encinas stated.

Bea Fry, development steward at AUA, said Chicago has untapped agricultural potential, especially in its vacant land. Fry argued the city's abandoned land is a government-created, systemic issue; while urban agriculture is community-created.

"It's ancestral knowledge that's being passed on from generation to generation," Fry explained. "It's community building between youth and elders, it's nurturing one another."

Marla Larrave, political education director for the HEAL Food Alliance, oversees the SoPL program. She said the three cohort teams, which includes another group in California, will continually refine their campaigns and initiatives as they progress.

"So that's been interesting, to see what folks come in with and then what they leave with, in terms of their campaign," Larrave observed.

The 2022 class is the fourth cohort to pass through the HEAL's School of Political Leadership.

get more stories like this via email
As many as 11% of eligible voters do not have the kind of identification that is required by states with strict ID requirements, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said a bill to require Maine voters to present photo identification in order to cast ballots is unnecessary and coul…

Social Issues

A bill to increase tax credits in the Commonwealth is backed up by research showing the credits lead to better nutrition for working families and bett…


Part of the deal Wyoming struck for sending its water down the Colorado River was that state residents would be able to tap electricity generated at G…

Advocates and activists from both the liberal and conservative sides are trying to encourage voter turnout for the upcoming state Supreme Court race, given the impact the outcome will have on the court's ideological balance. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Wisconsin's primary election is two weeks away, and a high-profile state Supreme Court race is on the ballot. Several advocacy groups are behind a …


A coalition of conservation groups is giving Colorado's revised state water plan a thumbs-up for its increased focus on protecting Colorado's rivers…

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reported a 70% increase in reported fraud losses from consumers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Victims of investment-related fraud in North Dakota could soon recoup some of their losses through a proposed restitution fund. A bill to establish …

Social Issues

West Virginia is among a handful of states with the highest increases in educational attainment between 2019 and 2021, according to a new report from …

Social Issues

The state's "divisive concepts" law is preventing educators from holding rational discussions about race relations in America, New Hampshire civil …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021