Youth Engagement Group examines Illinois farm issues

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:19 p.m. CDT

CICERO – Members of the Youth Initiative Civic Engagement Team went downstate June 26 to learn a thing or two about farmers and farming, as well as the challenges they face to produce and distribute healthy foods to the store down the street.

The team, created by State Rep. Lisa Hernandez, consists of young community activists and was formed to help them prepare for statewide leadership and understand the numerous issues faced by the state.

Hernandez introduced team members to State Rep. Brad Holbrook of Charleston during a meeting with officials of the Clark County Farm Bureau in Martinsville.

“When you are growing up in Chicago, farming may not seem like an important issue, but it directly impacts both your health and your pocketbook,” Hernandez said.

She added that taking the team members to visit the Farm Bureau is important for giving them a well-rounded look at all of the issues that impact Illinois residents.

"Understanding these issues, I believe, will help them as they grow into leadership positions to have knowledge of all of the issues to make their communities, cities, districts and the region healthier and a better place to live, which is one of my driving missions,” she said.

Hernandez said she believes it's important young people understand the issues beyond their own neighborhoods.

“As part of engaging youth in the community, I want these young leaders to understand the role of a legislator and a leader and what legislators and governments can and should do to assist farmers,” Hernandez said.

The team learned about the lives of farmers while discussing how each farmer works to ensure a good crop each and every year. During this trip, the team witnessed first-hand how weather plays a direct role on farms and farming.

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