County Board Approves Formation of Local Foods Council

By a final vote of 16-9, the Champaign County board voted earlier this month to approve the formation of a Champaign County Local Foods Policy Council. The Council, whose purpose is to encourage the establishment and development of small businesses that feature local foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is also looking to “urge large institutional entities to commit to the use of 10 percent locally produced foods.”

The county board is hopeful that the council can spur growth in the use of local foods, with Democrat Alan Kurtz of Champaign saying “Anything that expands local food production is beneficial.”

Local Democrat Alan Kurtz, of Champaign
Local Democrat Alan Kurtz, of Champaign

The Democrat-led effort also sets a sunset provision for March 2014, when the county board will assess the effectiveness of the council and the need for continuing it.

However, not everyone on the board was happy with the outcome of the vote. All 9 “nay” votes came from board Republicans, apprehensive of the bureaucracy the council may create. “I have yet to see anything a government entity starts that doesn’t turn into a boondoggle”, said Stan James of Rantoul (this leads to the question of why someone with that outlook would even get into government, but that’s a discussion for another day).

If you’re interested in listening to the audio of the meeting, you can find it here, along with the minutes of many other county board meeting.

Have a good night everybody.

*All quotes come from the Champaign News-Gazette