Join farmers across the state

Are you a farmer or advocate that’s passionate about soil health and land stewardship? Are you looking to connect with others that share your passion?

If you answered yes, then the Soil Health Caucus is right for you!

The Soil Health Caucus brings together Alliance members who are passionate about soil health, climate, reducing nutrient pollution, and improving water quality. The Soil Health Caucus aims to build a supportive community, organize together, and grow the movement for soil health in Illinois.

What is a caucus?

The word “caucus” has Native American origins as the Algonquian word for “counsel.” We would like to think of the Soil Health Caucus as being counselors and advisers, not just to the Alliance, but to each other, because farmers know what it takes to improve soil health and ensure farm profitability for years to come.

Join the Alliance Soil Health Caucus

The Caucus is under Farmer-led Leadership: 

Derek Lee Ervin is co-owner, head product designer and chef at Glaciers End in Southern Illinois. Derek and his wife Libby farm 37 acres in Williamson county and run a specialty foods shop off the square in Marion Il. They specialize in perennials and specialty crops like berries, rare peppers, heirloom pears and apples and utilize native and invasive ingredients they grow on their property. Glaciers End is a value added food company whose products may be found at their store and markets and festivals around Illinois. They began as a cottage food business and continue to advocate for cottage food producers and helped craft the Illinois Home to Market Act. Derek implements regenerative and sustainable practices and is passionate about soil and water health and the effects of farming practices on their surrounding ecosystems and communities. Derek is the President of LEAF ( The Little Egypt Alliance of Farmers )food-hub and was the co-recipient of the 2021 Illinois Local Food Change Maker award with his wife Libby.

We are lucky to have both of these dedicated soil health farmers to lead the caucus. 

Why should I join the caucus?

For too long decisions have been made without farmers at the table. This caucus changes that. When we work as one collective, farmer-led voice, together we can change mindsets and create a stronger soil health movement.  

You can count on the Alliance Soil Health Caucus for opportunities to:

  • Meet and network with other like-minded farmers who share your passion,
  • Shape a soil health policy agenda + take action on soil health legislation that matters to you
  • Sharpen your skills as a leader of a soil health movement and,
  • Get the latest insider intel on programs and policies that impact soil health, climate, nutrient pollution, water quality, and stewardship.

We look to Soil Health in the Caucus to weigh in on our advocacy agenda to promote soil health, drive adoption of cover crops and continuous living cover, solve nutrient pollution, and educate decision-makers on issues that impact farmers.

How we work:


  • Help determine where the Alliance should focus our efforts in the coming year by taking the Priority Setting Survey in November
  • Join Farmers and Eaters to vote on the Alliance Policy Agenda at the Alliance Annual Meeting in December
  • Work with Alliance staff to introduce legislation
  • Join a Campaign Team to help create a campaign plan for the legislation you care about most


  • Work with Alliance staff to share your stories and build support for issues through news articles, op-eds, media interviews, speaking events and more.
  • Organize lobbying and advocacy trips to the Capitol as needed
  • Take action on the legislation you care about
  • Attend the Spring Caucus Meeting in June to network, celebrate victories, and discuss remaining and new issues. This is the time to bring up new issues to explore during the summer!