Since 1993, CISA has been working to strengthen the connections between farms and the community, by creating and running programs that link farmers, community members, and markets.
Our signature program, the Local Hero campaign is the longest running “buy local” program in the country and is a smashing success. Farmers, specialty food producers, retailers, and wholesale buyers, find out how the Local Hero program can help your business!
Scaling Up Local Food
CISA is actively working to ensure that locally grown food is available throughout our region in all of the places that we live, work, and eat. We are working with partners to identify areas such as processing, storage, and distribution, and collaborating with farmers and other groups to develop solutions.
From starting a new farm to marketing and expanding an existing one, CISA offers a wide range of technical assistance to farmers and other CISA members: workshops, consulting, downloadable information sheets, and more. In 2014, CISA hosted six labor workshops, which covered topics including: legal framework and financial implications of farm labor choices, and improve labor management strategies to build a stronger and more productive crew.
CISA has been providing shares of the local harvest to low-income seniors since 2004. In 2016, we will serve 475 low-income seniors in partnership with twelve local farms.
Emergency Farm Fund
CISA created this fund in 2011, in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Equity Trust, in response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. The Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses struggling to meet their immediate needs in the aftermath of severe weather events and other emergencies.