Hunter law expands urban agriculture in Illinois, overrides veto of measure to support urban farmers

hunter 112818SPRINGFIELD – A new law passed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will help provide opportunities for small farmers and community organizers to create urban agriculture zones where communities can grow food for themselves and combat food deserts.

The Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 3418 today, which allows counties or municipalities to create urban agriculture zones composed of organizations or individuals who grow produce or other agricultural products, raise or process livestock or poultry or whose stock is a minimum of 75 percent locally grown.


“This bill was about offering support to urban farmers and empowering them to grow their own healthy foods,” Hunter said. “I am glad we now have the ability to help urban farmers grow and supply fresh, local food to communities that need extra support in Chicago.”

Food deserts are defined as areas that lack access to healthy foods or where it is difficult to purchase them, and they are a growing problem in neighborhoods throughout south side and western Chicago, according to Hunter. These zones would empower residents by granting them the resources they need to grow their own healthy foods around the areas they live.

Along with expanding access to fresh food, the bill will also encourage the state’s food production to be more independent and sustainable.

“I’d like to thank Representative Sonya Harper for her leadership in the House and her tireless effort to combat food deserts in Chicago,” Hunter said. “I am excited that we now have a chance to support urban farmers and help them create a vibrant local food economy.”

The motions to override having succeeded in both chambers of the General Assembly, the measure becomes law despite the governor’s veto.

Sen. Mattie Hunter

Senator Mattie Hunter

3rd District
Majority Caucus Chair

Years served:
2003 - Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive (Chairperson); Human Services; Public Health; Subcommittee on Special Issues (EX) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Special Issues (HS); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com.; Transportation (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago – 3rd District) has served in the Illinois Senate since 2003. She is Chairperson of the Senate Energy Committee and serves on many other committees like Human Services and Public Health. She is also appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Health Committee and is Co-Chair of the Council of State Government Health Policy Task Force.

Associated Representatives:
Sonya M. Harper
Lamont J. Robinson, Jr.