On October 16th, the Portneuf Resource Council (PRC) held a kickoff event to launch their new Pocatello chapter. They invited the public to learn more about their campaigns and also recruited new members. At the end of October the chapter had their first member meeting where they elected officers, adopted bylaws, and officially voted to become an IORC chapter. And in early November they held their first action, attending a city open house on the update to the city’s comprehensive plan. PRC is working on watershed security and local food production/urban agriculture.
IORC’s southwest Idaho chapter, the Weiser River Resource Council (WRRC) is going strong. In September they celebrated their third annual membership celebration. They are focusing on four main issues this year:
- Local food/farmers market;
- Organizing for local and state regulations on oil and gas exploration and development;
- Managing the community recycling center and performing a community recycling survey; and
- Organizing for clean rivers and opposing the Galloway Dam.
This fall IORC also kicked off its first statewide legislative campaign. They are leading a grassroots effort to legalize and regulate in-home processing of certain foods to be sold direct to consumers at farmers markets and farm stands. Currently, state law requires producers go to commercial kitchens to process items like bread, honey, jams and jellies, and pastries. Idaho is one of only a handful of states that hasn’t passed a cottage food law. The lack of a cottage food law means that there is a missing step for small scale businesses to get started, which in particular sets up challenges for rural and low-income producers. They are set to back a legislative bill in 2015 with support of farmers, farmers market managers and vendors, consumers, and the Department of Health and Welfare.
In July, IORC field organizer Corey Crownhart left IORC to move to Coeur d’Alene with his fiance. In October IORC welcomed Doug Paddock as their new field organizer. He has taken over Corey’s responsibilities as chapter organizer for WRRC, the lead oil and gas organizer, membership management, and communications. You should expect to see many more member newsletters and action alerts coming out now with Doug on board.
IORC also held its first annual meeting on Saturday November 8th at the Powerhouse event center in Boise from 6:00-9:00. They celebrated their successes for 2014, planned for 2015, and held elections for their board of directors.