Green Festival Speakers

Debbie Hillman



For the last 30 years Debbie Hillman has lived in Evanston, Illinois, where until 2006 she was an organic gardener, designing, installing, and maintaining residential gardens, all the while educating my clients about why they should pay attention to weather and soil. Since 2000, since have been active in a grassroots organization, Network for Evanston's Future, working on a broad stewardship agenda energy, affordable housing, transportation, global warming.

In 2005, out of a growing awareness that food and agriculture connect many issues, including personal health and enjoyment in life, Hillman cofounded Evanston Food Policy Council. The council's goal is to increase awareness in urban communities about healthy foods, healthy farms, and healthy people, and to connect urban consumers to their food system and to rural communities, changing policy as we go along. Activities have included public education (films and discussions), creating a 3acre urban farm, citizen involvement in Evanston's farmers' market, and helping our urban legislators understand why they should be concerned about food, farming, and rural communities. Discussions with our state representative resulted in Rep. Julie Hamos writing a bill proposing the comprehensive development of an Illinois local and organic food system. HB 1300, Illinois Food, Farm, and Jobs Act of 2007, was passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law in August 2007.

The bill was the combined efforts of a growing statewide coalition, recently formalized into the Illinois Local Food and Farms Coalition, which she helps to coordinate. She is also board member of The Land Connection, and a Steering Committee member with the Chicago Food Policy Advispry Council.