Lt. Governor Stratton Launches Agricultural Equity and Food Insecurity Initiative
SPRINGFIELD— Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton today launched the Agricultural Equity and Food Insecurity Initiative, called #AgConnectsUsAll. We know there are disparities in who enjoys the benefits of, and who has access to, the opportunities the agriculture industry has to offer in this country—including in Illinois. We also know that food insecurity impacts far too many people in all 102 counties of Illinois, especially children and the elderly.
That is why Lt. Governor Stratton and her team have begun traveling across the State to conduct listening tours as part of #AgConnectsUsAll. These listening sessions allow for gathering information from stakeholders with first-hand knowledge to formulate a long-term strategy that will work towards elevating equity in the industry and addressing food insecurity.
Lt. Governor Stratton and her team have already toured Peoria, Chicago, and East Saint Louis, Illinois. They are excited about listening and learning in these spaces and look forward to doing more.
During the month of February, the emphasis of #AgConnectsUsAll will be on diversity and equity. Black Farmers once owned 14% of the land in this country, now they own about 1.3%. Lt. Governor Stratton and her team will focus on identifying funding opportunities for marginalized farmers and improving access to Ag education and career pipelines.
During the month of March, #AgConnectsUsAll will emphasize food insecurity and finding pathways to ensure residents have access to fresh, nutrient-dense, and culturally relevant food. Since the beginning of the pandemic, food insecurity has doubled among the general population in Illinois, tripled in households with children, and increased 60% among seniors.
Lt. Governor Stratton is dedicated to this work, as evident in her role as Chair of the Governor's Rural Affairs Council (GRAC). The Council was created to improve the delivery of state services to rural Illinois, while expanding opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for all Illinoisans with a particular focus on rural residents.
Beyond her leadership, Lt. Governor Stratton is connected to the land like so many people of color. After Emancipation, Stratton's great-great grandfather was given a plot of land that was farmed and cultivated into a community called Stephensville, Mississippi, that still exists to this day.
To learn more about the #AgConnectsUsAll launch, go to the Lieutenant Governor's social media platforms (@LTGOVSTRATTON, LTGOVSTRATTON) for the announcement and updates.
The video announcement is also available at this link:
"You'll often hear me say that Ag connects us all. From rural to urban to suburban - Ag is at the center. It's our state's largest industry, a driving force in our economy and an integral part of feeding Illinois," said Lt. Governor Stratton. "All communities throughout our state deserve to have access to the bounty that Illinois produces. Our efforts through these sessions, and our greater strategy for equity, will take steps in making Illinois Agriculture as vibrant and diverse as our state."