The West Virginia Community Development Hub, the parent organization of the West Virginia Food & farm Coalition, has published an article telling the stories of the 2015 passage of SB304, which creates a simple and affordable state-wide health permit for farmers market vendors, and SB352, which expands the producer cooperative section to include all businesses that relate to foods and beverages, arts and crafts, woodworking and recycling, composting and repurposing of materials.
Both of these bills were spearheaded by us here at the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, with policy support from the Hub. Here’s a quote from the article:
The Legislature passed both of the local foods bills that the WV Food and Farm Coalition and theWV Farmers Market Association worked on this year, with support provided by The Hub. Both of those bills served as useful examples of advocacy efforts that can lead to success. And they are especially interesting because different methods were used to get each bill passed!
We took away some major lessons about successful advocacy from each of these efforts this year:
1). Have a strong coalition that works well together and is willing to do the hard grunt work of taking a bill from an idea to a law
2). Having a full-time lobbyists helps! It’s not mandatory but you certainly need someone who can be in Charleston on a regular basis and working the Capitol hallways for many hours multiple times a week to shepherd a bill along and help it avoid pitfalls, and
3). None of this can happen if you don’t have a passionate elected advocate on your side. Identify that advocate early and work closely with him or her to achieve success.