Hello fellow IORC members! It’s been another exciting year of seizing opportunity for our organization to move towards realizing our shared vision. Since I haven’t gotten the chance to directly connect with many of you, I want to share some personal reflection from the past year at IORC, update you all on some current work I’ve been connecting with as a member, and share some excitement for grassroots organizing to build community despite a need for social distancing.
We had a big win during the 2020 Legislative Session. In the morning of March 12 in front of the Senate Agriculture Affairs Committee our staff and members showed collective strength by turning out a room full of people to testify against HB 487. This would not have been possible without behind the scenes organizing by members of our new chapter Vision 2C Resource Council who are determined not to let the two dozen workers poisoned in a Parma onion field be forgotten. For those of you who may have missed it, IORC and various partners successfully lobbied against attempts by pesticide applicators to weaken regulation of their industry. Get the full story from the legislative update.
Being able to point to shared organizational experiences builds collective power! In the weeks after that public hearing and subsequent legislative victory, conversations shifted to COVID-19 response. The Ag and Food Team along with several community partners is coordinating efforts to get local food to essential workers on farms in the Treasure Valley. A small team of us are also reaching out to farmers across Southern Idaho asking them to share stories from their farms to highlight how shopping small and local not only helps grow localized economies, but also promotes relienency for times of crisis such as these. Mutual aid in the form of a renewed commitment to keeping more of our money circulating locally is a step we can all be taking.
Sitting in my living room on the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day I am reminded that this celebration began as a grassroots day of action. That day millions of Americans mobilized, and their efforts are credited towards the creation of our Environmental Protection Agency. As IORC’s metaphorical table grows, I challenge you to double down efforts. This is a watershed moment for American, and with a focus on connection and resilience, I believe it can be for IORC as well.
I look forward to hearing from chapter representatives at your virtual May board meeting about the work you all have been up to. Please feel free to reach out any time with questions, updates, or just to get to know each other better.