As demand grows for local farm products, CISA is connecting the dots between farm fields and kitchen tables, workplace dining rooms, and grocery store shelves. We’re working with partners to improve local infrastructure and address critical gaps in the systems and facilities needed to get agricultural products to new markets.
Why? So that local products can reach more markets and more buyers.
CISA’s new report, Scaling Up Local Food: Investing in Farm & Food Systems Infrastructure for the Pioneer Valley provides real-life, local examples of the successes, challenges and opportunities in the Pioneer Valley food system today. Consumers, farmers, businesspeople, investors, planners, and policy-makers will find suggestions for action to help create a local food system that provides more local food to more residents of our region.
Several related documents provide background for Scaling Up.
- Increasing Local Milk Processing Capacity: Benefits to Pioneer Valley Consumers and Communities, a recent study by American Farmland Trust, in cooperation with CISA, describes the importance of the dairy industry, the challenges of achieving profitability on New England dairy farms, and the potential impact of an investment in infrastructure for dairy processing.
- CISA’s “Processing for Local Agriculture” case studies provide an in-depth look at how three local businesses have built and financed the infrastructure and systems they need to process and market locally grown food and herbal medicines:
Since 2007, we’ve worked with growers, business owners, and buyers interested in ready-to-eat salad greens, dairy products, meat, frozen local produce, and winter storage crops. See the links on the right to read more about our work on these projects, which included assessing equipment costs and financing options, understanding shifting regulatory environments, navigating community response, and looking closely at interwoven requirements related to production and scale.
CISA acts as a convener, facilitator, and researcher to help farmers, for-profits, and public and private funders gain knowledge of the value of investing in food systems infrastructure. We participate in the PVGrows Network and PVGrows Loan Fund, working with individuals and organizations all over the Pioneer Valley to create a food system that provides healthy food for all residents of our region, undergirds our local economy, protects open space and the environment, and creates jobs and opportunities.
For more information on CISA’s infrastructure initiatives, or to get involved, please contact Margaret Christie, Special Projects Director, at 413-665-7100.