Oct. 2008
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CISA Launches New Community Membership Initiative
For 15 years, CISA has been at the forefront of building a thriving agricultural economy in western Massachusetts. We've managed one of the longest-running "buy local" campaigns in the country and have created a strong market for farm products. Now, with the case for supporting local agriculture stronger than ever, CISA is launching a new community membership initiative with a goal of 1,000 memberships by the end of 2009.

"CISA needs a growing and strong network of friends and supporters who financially support the organization as well as advocate and act on behalf of local agriculture," stated Executive Director Philip Korman. "The community membership initiative allows us to harness the good will that already exists for CISA and provide an outlet for like-minded individuals to come together. Indeed, many folks in the community already consider themselves members because their values are aligned with CISA's mission."

Because building community is at the core of this new initiative, CISA is asking current supporters to actively join the program as way to affirm their commitment to local agriculture.

"Those who elect to join the community membership program are emphatically stating that they understand there are no simple solutions for saving family farms. You are saying that you know purchasing from local growers is a great first step to helping our family farmers, but there are many more steps that need to be taken," notes Phil.

Enrollment in the new initiative is open to individuals and families, beginning at $35. Benefits include the new Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown bumper sticker, a subscription to Field Notes (our print publication), a monthly e-newsletter and an invitation to our Annual Meeting and Potluck Supper. Members who join at the $60 level and above receive additional benefits. All members will be offered special training opportunities to learn how to broaden CISA's voice throughout the Pioneer Valley. As the membership builds, further benefits will be offered. A complete breakdown of membership levels and benefits can be found on our website.

Questions or comments about the new initiative can be directed to Tracie Butler-Kurth.

Annual Benefit Marks Kick-Off to 15th Year
CISA hosted its annual benefit, Eat the View, on October 3, 2008 at the Look Park Garden House in Florence. The popular event, which sells out every year, is a celebration of the beauty and bounty of the Pioneer Valley landscape, and featured a sumptuous buffet dinner of local produce, meats, cheeses, and beverages, a live auction, music provided by the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chamber Players, and a reading by local poet Gail Thomas.

This year's event also marked 15 years of the organization's activities in support of sustaining agriculture in western Massachusetts, and included an overview of initiatives and programs going forward that will strengthen the organization's role in the community and enhance its ability to support local farmers and reach more consumers.

More than 20 Local Hero farms and restaurants donated locally produced food for the evening's meal, which was prepared by The Black Sheep in Amherst. In addition, numerous businesses and organizations -- including Big Y World Class Markets, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, The Valley Advocate, WGBY and Whole Foods Market -- made the event possible through their generous support. Funds raised from Eat the View go to support CISA's programs and general operations.

CISA extends heartfelt thanks to all who attended or donated time and talent to this wonderful occasion.

Local Seniors Take a Trip to the Farm
On September 9th, nearly 75 seniors from Springfield and Holyoke made the trek up to Riverland Farm in Sunderland to visit the farm that has been providing them with fresh, local veggies all summer long. The seniors are participants in CISA's Senior FarmShare program, which provides nearly 350 low-income seniors with free weekly shares of local fruit and veggies during the height of the harvest season. This season, CISA coordinated distributions at 17 sites throughout Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties and paid over $40,000 to the 14 participating Local Hero farms. The program addresses several needs in the region by providing low-income seniors with much-needed fresh produce and by creating a new market for local farms.

The group spent the morning at Riverland enjoying snacks, chatting with one another, and learning about the farm from farmers Meghan Arquin and Rob Lynch. They shared recipes, raved about their old and new favorite vegetables, and were very vocal about what produce they'd like more (and less!) of next year. After a trip down to the pick-your-own fields to fill their bags with tomatoes, beans, herbs, and flowers, the seniors headed back to Holyoke and Springfield with armloads of veggies and big smiles on their faces.

Gettin' Creative at Farm Aid
Sure, there was a lot of great music to be heard at the Farm Aid concert outside of Boston on September 20. Headliners Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp were just the tip of the musical iceberg on stage that day. But CISA's exhibit offered concert-goers the chance to let their own creativity flow. For those who explored the Homegrown Village, the area Farm Aid set aside for nonprofits to promote their work with family farms, a plethora of crayons, markers and colored pencils were at the ready. Using CISA's Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown public awareness campaign as an example, intrepid concert-goers were encouraged to design their own "buy locally grown" advertisement. The top five submissions, as determined by CISA staff, were created by:
  • Cheryl Hirshman of Lincoln, MA
  • Annalee Riley of Great Barrington, MA
  • Marlie Wilson of Lincoln, MA
  • Erin Neil of Shelburne Falls, MA
  • Kayla O'Rourke of Boston, MA
Thanks to all who participated. Your creativity was impressive! All five winning entries can be viewed here.

Special thanks to Audrey Samek of Hardwick Vineyard and Winery/River Valley Market and Warren Facey of Bree-Z-Knoll Farm/Our Family Farms for spending the day working on this endeavor with CISA.

Local Food all Winter Long
Finding local foods in the winter doesn't have to be a challenge. In fact, local farmers, businesses, and volunteer organizers are making it increasingly easy to fill your plate with local foods year round. One simple way to eat more local food all year long is to stock up on winter storage crops which can be easily stored in your home--see our local eating tip, below, for suggestions.

Some CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) offer winter shares, which provide a weekly or bi-weekly box of local storage crops and occasional winter greens. These fill early, however, and are sometimes only available to summer shareholders. This year, for the first time, Enterprise Farm in Whately will be offering a regional winter CSA from December through March. Their regional share is designed for those who are concerned about regional food security and the carbon footprint of our current food distribution system. The share includes organic produce from family farms on the east coast, ranging from local storage crops and greenhouse greens to North Carolina tomatoes and Florida citrus. All produce comes fresh from the farm in less than two days from picking. For more information or to get a sign-up form, visit the farm's website or contact Benneth Phelps.

Valley Green Feast provides home or office delivery of local, organic food during the growing season. Owner Jessica Harwood has also offered her customers "Winter Baskets," with fruits and vegetables for canning and freezing, along with directions on how to do it. This winter, Harwood will work with Enterprise Farm to source regional produce, as well as local storage crops, for delivery. To find out more contact Jessica Harwood at (413) 588-8704.

Winter Fare, a week-long celebration of local food and year-round local eating organized by a volunteer committee, will return for a second year in February. The Winter Fare Farmer's Market will move to the Greenfield High School on February 7th (10 am - 2 pm), allowing room for more vendors, more customers, and more fun. Last year's market featured a full range of locally grown products: storage crops, greens, cheese, meat, eggs, bread, jams, preserves, dressings, and more. Workshops, displays, and a barter mart (plan now to make sure you'll have extra preserves or other handmade items to trade!) round out the day. The week of Winter Fare also includes local foods potlucks, community events, and specials at area restaurants. To find out more or volunteer to help, check the Winter Fare website or email Claire Morenon.

Fiber Twist
Pull out the knitting needles and get stitching! Now is your annual opportunity to stock up on local fleece, roving, or yarn and get inspired from all of the wonderful knit and fiber arts projects on display at the 4th annual Fiber Twist. The indoor Vendors' Marketplace at Greenfield High School will feature rug hooking products, fiber arts products, and demonstrations from 9:00am-4:00pm. Other local fiber arts locations will be open throughout Franklin County for visiting and demonstrations. Several Local Hero farmers will be at the market selling their wares, so take this great opportunity to meet your local fiber producers.

The 4th annual Fiber Twist is sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. All Fiber Twist locations and events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise specified. For more information about the day-long event, please visit the event's website.

Franklin County CiderDays
CiderDays is a community event celebrating all things apple in Franklin County. This year, apple enthusiasts are looking forward to two full days of orchard tours, cider making and tastings, and workshops. The Marketplace at the Brick Meeting House in Colrain will be full of local farmers, artisans, producers, food vendors and apples. From there, the Valley's orchards are yours to explore. Look through the full schedule to find activities, tours, and workshops that pique your interest. Just be sure to make it back to Old Deerfield for the annual Harvest Supper. This year's supper, put together by Chef Paul Correnty, will feature Autumn Vegetable Soup; Cider steamed Grilled Turkey and Cranberry Sausage; Bean Ragout with Carrots, Onions and Herbs; Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Cider Dressing; and Warm Apple Crisp with Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Some activities, like the Cider Salon and Harvest Supper are ticketed activities, but the majority of the festival has no admission fees. Visit the CiderDays website for the schedule, map, and ticket information. And don't forget to drop by CISA's booth at the Brick Meeting House in Colrain.

Local Eating Tip: Storage Crops
By Margaret Christie, CISA Special Projects Director
Many delicious locally grown crops can be easily stored for much of the winter-but they are not available in stores all winter long. If you want to eat locally grown potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, garlic or onions all winter, stock up now, and find the perfect place in your house or apartment to keep your veggies happy through the winter. Here are some tips:
  • Potatoes like cold, damp conditions. I store them in my basement and long-storing varieties last well into March and often beyond. I need to protect them from mice: I use recycled 5 gallon buckets, replacing the lids with screening, or wooden boxes, also with screen lids. If you have a furnace, your basement may be too warm-see the Bubel's book, below, for other options.
  • Winter squash, sweet potatoes, garlic, and onions all like cool, dry conditions. We have an unheated storage space and keep them there until it's too cold-moving the squash and pumpkins out when the inside temperature dips below 50, and the onions and garlic when it threatens to freeze. After that, we store them all under the bed in our unheated guest room. We spread the squash out on newspaper and store the garlic, onions, and sweet potatoes in bushel baskets or mesh bags. Another CISA staffer keeps these crops in a cold bedroom closet.
  • Many root vegetables-carrots, beets, celeriac, for example-also store well in cold (but not freezing) and damp conditions. In my experience, these crops will dry out if they are stored loose in the basement, but I've eaten beets in May (roasted, with fresh goat cheese, on a bed of the earliest nettle leaves from my yard) out of a bucket of slightly damp sand in the basement. Other options for keeping these crops cool and crisp include layering them with sawdust or leaves in a bucket or storing them in a cooler in your garage or shed.
For lots more detailed information on storage conditions and crops, I recommend Nancy and Mike Bubel's book, Root Cellaring. They'll show you how to dig a root cellar in your backyard-but if you don't have time for that, you can still put some squash under the bed.

Gleaning Locally-Grown Food
Volunteers, farmers, Massachusetts food banks, and the state Department of Agricultural Resources are all working to get locally grown food to low-income residents throughout Massachusetts. Earlier this month, this effort was highlighted in a tour of Pioneer Valley farms picking and packing products headed for food pantries. The Massachusetts Grown Initiative ensures that a portion of state funds for food banks goes to Massachusetts growers, giving our local growers and producers a secure market and helping our hungry neighbors by providing nutritious fresh produce through more than 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in Massachusetts.

Local farms, food banks and pantries, and volunteer gleaners supplement this purchased food with freshly harvested local produce. If you are interested in helping to get even more locally-grown produce to emergency food providers, gleaning may be just the activity for you.

Gleaners harvest leftover crops from farm fields-crops that farmers cannot harvest and market profitably. For example, sometimes it's just too labor-intensive to get the last of the tomatoes, or the market price is too low for imperfect winter squash, so farmers allow volunteers to collect the leftovers for the area's emergency food providers. A couple of local organizations provide the coordination services needed for successful gleaning, matching farm harvest schedules, the requirements of perishable products, and volunteer crews to ensure successful results.

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer gleaner? Contact Glenn Goldman, Director of Food Distribution (413-247- 0312 ext. 130) at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts or Jessica Harwood, the Gleaning Coordinator for Rachel's Table at (617) 595-7108. Both of these volunteer gleaning groups organize gleaning projects in western Massachusetts.

Gardening Like the Forest I: Home-Scale Ecological Food Production
Friday, October 17

Healthy forests maintain, fertilize, and renew themselves naturally. Edible forest gardens mimic the structure and function of natural forests through all their stages of development and grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizers, farmaceuticals, and fun. We can meet our own needs and regenerate healthy ecosystems at the same time! This talk is a benefit for the Valley Community Land Trust. The talk will be from 7:00-9:00pm at the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield. Suggested donation: $10. No one turned away for lack of funds. More information at www.vclt.org.

Gardening Like the Forest II: Case Studies in Home Garden Design
Saturday, October 18

How might we apply the principles and ideas of forest gardening to actual sites where people live in our region? Join us as we learn to articulate design goals, analyze and assess sites, schematically design landscapes, and develop ideas for perennial polycultures of multipurpose plants. Bring your own lunch and be ready to be outdoors most of the day - rain or shine. We highly recommend attending Friday night's talk before attending this workshop. Sliding scale fee $20 to $150 (suggested $50 per person). Limited enrollment - sign up now! The workshop will run from 9:00am-4:00pm in Colrain. Contact info@vclt.org or call 413-624-5128 to register. More info at www.vclt.org.

Lazy Local Food Storage with Emma Stamas
Tuesday, October 21

Learn simple strategies for storing winter squash, potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots, garlic and onions to keep you eating local right through the winter months. These techniques are perfect for people who do not have lots of time or storage space and who aspire to eating local through the seasons. Emma Stamas has been an organic gardener for 50 years and currently grows and stores almost all the vegetables her family eats each year. The workshop will be at the Northfield Mountain Recreation Center from 7:00 - 8:30pm. Pre-register by calling (800) 859-2960.

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival and Tractor Parade
Saturday, October 25

Join North Hadley Sugar Shack for their annual Pumpkin Festival and Tractor Parade. The afternoon will feature pumpkin painting, balloon sculptures, an animal village, and fun and games for everyone! Bring your appetite for farm-fresh pumpkin pies, muffins, and breads plus maple syrup, candies, and cotton candy. The tractor parade will begin around 2:00pm. For more information, please call (413) 585-8820.

Fiber Twist
Saturday, October 25

Franklin County's fiber celebration showcases the sheep and fiber farmers, spinners, knitters, dyers, felters, weavers, traditional rug hookers, and other fiber artisans. The event will again feature workshops, a market and events across the Franklin County. The marketplace will be at the Greenfield High School from 9:00am-4:00pm. For more details, check the event's website.

Great Pumpkin Adventure
Saturdays & Sundays, Through October 26

Stop by Fini's Plant Farm in Feeding Hills for loads of fun for children 3-8 years of age. Hayrides, mini-corn maze, face painting, ghoulish games and more. Runs weekends through October 26th from 11:00am-5:00pm and open on Monday, October 13th. Cost is $4.50 per participant.

Mike's Amazing Maze
September 1-October 31

Celebrate the fall harvest this year by finding your way through Mike's Amazing Maze at Warner Farm, in Sunderland. This year's corn maze will "be an Odyssey". The maze is open weekends from 11:00am-5:00pm. For more information, visit the farm's website or call (413) 665-8331.

New Northampton Farmers' Market
Tuesdays, September 2-October 28

Located in the pedestrian area behind Thorne's Marketplace. The market will start September 2nd and run every Tuesday through October from 3:00-7:00pm. Please contact Ben or Oona at (413) 586-7586, and they'll send you more information.

Rockridge Farmers' Market in Northampton
Mondays, Throughout the Season

Rockridge Retirement Community will host Bloody Brook Farm of South Deerfield for a weekly farmer's market. The market will be held at Rockridge from 10:00am until noon on Mondays. The market is open to the public.
Job Opening: Farm Manager. Established PYO orchard in the Pioneer Valley with a loyal customer base seeks farm manager. Experience with tree fruit and marketing preferred. Position is year- round and requires experience with tree fruit and marketing, as well as tractor operation and equipment maintenance. Salary is commensurate with experience. Call (413) 665-4689.

Wanted: Land. Up to 10 acres of property is wanted for use as a value-added cheese production facility located in Hampshire County. Call John at (413) 339-8500.

Wanted: Land. Immigrant & Refugee Agriculture Initiative, based in Westfield, MA, seeks land in Western Massachusetts to expand its program to new participants and assist new farmers in establishing their own operation. We are searching for either individual locations (~4-5 acres) where our farmers could lease or a ~20-acre farm that IMMAG would oversee and support several farmer operations. In addition, we have a number of farmers that are interested in expanding their livestock operations. Again, we could site individual pastureland or have a collective space of ~50-100 acres. We are open to discussing what would work best for all involved. Please contact Shemariah Blum-Evitts at (413) 562-6015, with questions or to offer land/support. For more information, please visit our website.

For Rent: Join with leading community groups in a centrally located office space in South Deerfield that puts you at the heart of the northern Pioneer Valley. Rent this 400 square foot space, which includes access to conference rooms and a kitchen. Heat and electricity are included for $795 per month. Call Jennifer at (413) 665-7100 or email at jennifer@buylocalfood.com.

For Sale: Reside your barn! Re-siding a 14'x60'x16' barn with rough 1x8 pine only costs $2400. 1x8 shiplap would cost $4400. Don't put it off another day! Call Cowls today at (413) 549-0001.

For Sale: Dairy Goats. Herd reduction. Oberhasli, Toggenburg, Lamancha and Recorded Grade dariy goats for sale. Oberhasli: Milkers, doelings, pet and show quality; bucks - can be wethered. Toggenburg and Lamancha bucks for sale - from high production does. All does have been linear appraised. All milking does have been tested for TB, Brucellosis. All kids have been family raised and bottle fed. Contact Terri at (413) 569-5782.

For Sale: Farm fresh food delivered straight to your door. Delivery is available to the greater Northampton, Amherst, Easthampton, Springfield, and West Springfield areas, available throughout the year. For more information about this new service, contact Jessica Harwood at (413) 588-8704. Or, check out their website.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Phone: (413) 665-7100

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CISA | 1 Sugarloaf Street | South Deerfield | MA | 01373