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Local farmer Josh Snedden addresses Congress members on small farm needs

Josh and Morgan Snedden accept the 2023 Local Food Changer of the Year Award on Jan. 17 from Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello, center. The Sneddens operate Fox at the Fork Farm in Monee and sell their produce at Red Bird Cafe in Homewood. (Provided photo)

Josh Snedden, a local farmer who sells his produce at Red Bird Café in Homewood, addressed Illinois members of Congress on Thursday, Feb. 1, about the need for changes to the proposed Farm Bill that includes measures that would make sustainable food and farming more accessible to everyone.

Snedden and his wife Morgan are owners/operators of Fox at the Fork Farm in Monee. He was among the group of small farmers who urged Congress members to include support for local food, climate resilience, racial justice and next generation farmers in the next Farm Bill.

The Sneddens were presented with the 2023 Local Farm Changemaker Award on Jan. 17 by Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello for their exemplary leadership in growing the local food economy and helping Illinois farmers feed Illinois.

According to the Illinois Stewardship Alliance which organized the lobbying event, farmers today contend with unpredictable weather patterns, one-size-fits-all regulations, corporate consolidation, supply chains disrupted by the pandemic and decades of inadequate state and federal support.

Congress is working on rewriting the 2018 Farm Bill that expired in September 2023 but was extended for another year. It is hoped the House Agriculture Committee will consider several marker bills to draw upon for reference, including the Agriculture Resilience Act, the Local Farms and Food Act, and Small Farm Conservation Act.

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