Hi Farm to Fork Friends,
We need your help this legislative session! HB 256, the Utah Farm to School Bill, passed out of the House Committee on Friday and is moving on to the floor. HB 256 will create the first ever Utah Farm to School Commission, made up of representatives from Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Utah State Board of Education, and Utah Department of Health. This will help make our farm to fork initiatives more visible, prevalent, and cohesive across the state. You can read more about the bill here.
Please Contact Your Representative and Ask Them to Vote Yes on HB 256 House floor meetings are scheduled for Wednesday-Friday of this week, so we hope the bill will be heard then. Please contact your representative and urge them to vote YES. If you're not sure who your representative is, that's okay-- they're easy to find at le.utah.gov. Choose the drop-down menu that says Legislators, and click on "Find by Address/Map". You can then type in your street address and the map will show both your Representative and your Senator. Click on their profile to access their contact info.
How to Call We know, it's 2022 and nobody makes phone calls anymore. This is a great time to make an exception! At the state level, phone calls really do make a difference. The hardest part is actually picking up the phone and making that call. Just remember, your representative works for you and wants your feedback! Be polite, kind, and enthusiastic about your request. When you call:
Introduce yourself and state your connection to the area they represent.
State that you are calling to ask them to support HB 256, and explain why farm to school is important to you.
Ask if they have any questions and thank them for their time.
How to Email If you don't have time for a phone call, email is also a great option. In your email:
Explain why you are writing and why it is important to you. Keep it short and sweet.
Tell a personal story your legislator can connect to.
Point them to our one-page handout for more information (attach it to the email!).
Let them know what action you want to see (vote YES on HB 256).
What Comes Next? Testify at the Senate Committee Hearing If HB 256 passes the House floor, it will move on to the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Committee. When the bill is heard, there will be an opportunity to provide public comment. You can do so in-person or over Zoom. Tips for preparing your comment:
Write out your testimony beforehand, and practice reading it out loud.
Keep your statement to 90 seconds or less.
Begin by stating your name, where you live, and why you are there.
Explain why farm to school is important to you and how HB 256 will help.
Address the chair and members of the committee, not the public.
Stay calm and polite.
Support the Bill on the Senate Floor If HB 256 passes out of the Senate Committee, it will move to the Senate Floor for a final vote. At that point, we'll want to start contacting Senators and asking for their support. We'll definitely send out updates, but you can also sign up to track the bill at le.utah.gov if you're interested.
Other Ways to Help Write a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed Writing a letter to the editor or an op-ed is a great way to have your voice heard by more people. Don’t feel limited to large statewide publications (e.g. Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News). Submitting your items to smaller, local papers will help spread information within your community, and may give you a better shot at getting published. Most publications will have a Contact Us page online, with details about how to submit your content, and what guidelines need to be followed.
Use simple language—explain the issue like you are talking to a friend.
In general, letters to the editor are limited to 250 words, and op-eds to 600, so make your best and strongest arguments first.
Don’t feel like you have to start from scratch—take our one-page handout on HB 256 and re-write key points into your own words.
Speak to the Media Reach out to reporters! Many news agencies have email addresses where you can submit tips. Let them know what the issue is, why you support it, and why it needs more attention. If you’re a Twitter user, that’s another great way to contact news agencies and individual reporters.
Know that you will only have 2-3 minutes max on air. Plan out 1-2 key sentences that communicate your most important points.
Practice what you’re going to say! It will help you appear natural without falling back on nervous tics.
If you’re on camera, hold still while you’re talking.
Talk directly to the reporter, not the camera. If you’re nervous, focus on the reporter’s nose instead of their eyes.
Thank you for your help! Your voice matters and can make a difference. Please contact Kate Wheeler with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-538-7659).