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Senior FarmShare Evaluations Results
CISA, through its Senior FarmShare program, has been offering free shares of the harvest to low-income seniors throughout the Pioneer Valley since 2004. In 2008, nearly 350 senior participants received over $42,000 in fresh, local vegetables and fruits from 14 local farms through weekly distributions at 17 distribution sites from Springfield to Shelburne Falls.
At the close of every season, we ask senior participants to complete an evaluation of the program. Of the 154 respondents, 153 indicated that they were satisfied with the overall Senior FarmShare experience. A Chicopee senior wrote, "Living on a low income doesn't give me much to shop for fresh veggies and fruit. This [program] has been a blessing. I enjoyed all the fruit and veggies so much. It has been a great, great help." Said another, "I have always liked fresh fruits and vegetables, but was not always able to buy them. To be able to access fresh products was a blessing."
Forty-four percent of participants are on a special diet, and 88 percent said that they ate more fruits and veggies than they would have been able to if they had not received their weekly deliveries. One senior from Orange wrote, "As my doctor is always telling me to eat more fruit and veggies this was a great way to do it!!" Another participant said, "For my wife it was a godsend as she is a diabetic and benefits from fresh vegetables and some fruits."
The Senior FarmShare program also helps to build relationships between farms, community members, and social service providers. Local senior centers and Councils on Aging help with senior enrollment and with produce distributions throughout the season. Many seniors also build close relationships with the farmers who feed them. One participating senior wrote, "When I arrived, the farmer dropped whatever she was doing and came to assist me. She was extremely friendly and helpful, even offering to go to the field to pick something that was not on the counter."
Significant funding for Senior FarmShare comes from the state, through the Office of Elder Affairs. This funding was cut in half in the first round of state budget cuts last fall, and we are now working with farmers and senior centers to determine how to offer farm shares to the greatest possible number of seniors given our reduced budget.
Our farm and social service agency partners are essential to making this program work, and we're particularly grateful for their help this winter as we work to maintain the program with a more limited budget. More information about CISA's Senior FarmShare program can be found on our website.
Call for Volunteers - 2009 Eat the View
Want to help CISA raise funds, have fun, meet neighbors and community members with shared interests and values, exercise your creativity and, of course, eat great locally grown food?
We are looking for volunteers to help with our major benefit, Eat the View. This year's event is scheduled for Friday, October 2 and will be held at a new location, the Arena at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Northampton. The evening will include an elaborate and sumptuous feast of the Valley's finest locally grown food, a short program of remarks from CISA staff and supporters, a silent and live auction and other special surprises. We are seeking volunteers for the following committees and tasks:
Call for Volunteers - Community Outreach
Are you knowledgeable about economic, environmental and social impact of purchasing locally grown food and other farm products? Would you like to learn more? Are you good with the public? Friendly? Willing to promote CISA's community membership initiative? We attend a variety of events throughout the year including environmental expos, food and agriculture fairs, farmers' markets, concerts, and farm festivals. These events provide us with amazing opportunities to spread CISA's buy locally grown message. Training provided for people interested in volunteering (see below). Contact Jennifer at 413-665- 7100.
Volunteer Orientation and Training
CISA is hosting a two-part volunteer orientation and training session on Tuesday, January 27, at 6:30 pm for anyone interested in donating their time and energy to support our work. Light refreshments provided. From 6:30 to 7:30 pm, we'll introduce volunteers to the broad scope of CISA's work and history as well as provide information on how volunteers can make the most of their experience with our organization. At 7:30 pm, we'll have a half-hour training for anyone interested in serving as a Community Outreach Volunteer (attendance at the orientation session required). Community Outreach volunteers will represent CISA at food and agriculture fairs, farm festivals, farmers' markets, etc. In particular, they will promote our new community membership initiative.
Volunteer opportunities and application form can be found at the Get Involved section of CISA's website. Pre- registration is required for both sessions. To register or for further information, contact Jennifer at 413-665-7100.
Come to CISA's Annual Meeting and Potluck
If you love sharing great food, talking to farmers and hearing about the social and economic benefits of locally grown agriculture, then you need to attend CISA's annual meeting and potluck in March at Amherst College. We'll be celebrating the 2008 Local Hero award winners (Sidehill Farm, Mary McClintock, and Gardening the Community) and presenting our new board members. Thanks to all donors to CISA in 2008. You will receive an invitation and details in the coming weeks. If you want receive an invitation to this event, please join the Community Membership initiative or make a contribution to our Annual Fund.
CISA staff departure
CISA wishes a fond farewell to Allison Neher, program assistant, as she pursues other professional opportunities in her native Washington. We thank Allison for all of her hard work on the many tasks that came her way, but especially for her great contribution to this newsletter!
Photo by CISA staff.
Learn from a Local Hero
If you're looking for a new hobby to pick up this winter season, take the opportunity to learn from our local experts. Many Local Hero farmers and businesses offer skills workshops in the community during the slower winter season.
If you are interested in learning about spinning or dying wool, be sure to check out Foxfire Fiber & Designs Barb Parry's upcoming workshops at Webs Yarn Store in Northampton. She is also hosting monthly relaxed afternoons of spinning and camaraderie at Springdelle Farm in Shelburne, beginning Sunday, February 22. For everyone's comfort, Barb is limiting the attendance and asks that you contact her in advance about joining at email@example.com. Spinners should also think about joining Local Hero farmer Diane Roeder of Sojourner Sheep for the spinning group she leads the first Tuesday of each month at Webs. Or, if you really want to get creative with wool, leaf through the family workshops Jill Horton- Lyons of Winterberry Farm is offering this winter. From sheep shearing to making felted slippers, Winterberry Farm offers it all.
Other warm, winter workshops include cooking lessons from Local Hero restaurant chefs. The Night Kitchen in Montague will be offering classes on a variety of topics this winter, including authentic Mexican cooking, bread making, and dinner hosting on a budget.
If you aren't a winter weather person, start thinking about spring and learn about native plant propagation and other gardening projects at New England Wildflower Society's Nasami Farm in Whately. Or, head over to Hadley Garden Center to participate in their Winter Gardening Clinics. This year's topics include Birdsong for Beginners, Organic Pesticides & Repellents, New & Unusual Perennials, and Pruning, among others.
Look for other on-farm and farm-related activities throughout the year under our events listings on our website.
photo by Barbara Parry, Foxfire Fiber & Designs
Community Supported Restaurants?
Looking to build on the interest in and success of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farming model, Tabella Restaurant is launching a "Community Supported Restaurant" (CSR). Co-owners Emily Wadham and Adrian d'Errico envision a community sustained culinary business in which members pay now and pick up food later. Members can use their prepaid accounts to "buy" prepared meals, gift certificates and more over an 18-month period. Membership starts at $1,000; Tabella has the goal of raising $200,000 in pre-purchased accounts. The funds will be used to pay off a bank-owned capital investment and provide start-up funds to develop a year-round farmers' market and a farm to supply the market and restaurant with fresh produce.
While Tabella's is not the first non-farm business to adapt this capitalization method (a year ago Lionette's Market, a small grocer in Boston, garnered national headlines for using this financing approach), it may be the first time a restaurant has attempted to use the CSA model to support an existing restaurant business as well as an expansion into retail and farming. For more information download the CSR announcement or visit the CSR section on the Tabella web site.
Will this new venture succeed? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we'd love to hear what you think about this novel approach that a Local Hero restaurant is taking. Share your thoughts with Devon and she'll pass them on to Adrian and Emily.
CISA Hosts Winter Workshop Series: Marketing 101
CISA will be hosting a six-workshop series, Marketing 101, focused on developing marketing strategies for local farmers and other farm-related businesses. Participants can sign up for the whole series or individual workshops. Those that attend the entire series will be eligible for additional one-on-one assistance to begin implementation of their new marketing strategies. For more information on these and additional winter workshops, download our winter workshop listing. You can also download the registration form or contact Devon at 413-665-7100 x 22. These marketing workshops are based on work supported by USDA/CREES under Award Number 2007-49200-03888.
Presidential transition and local agriculture
President-elect Barack Obama will be inaugurated shortly and it's worth reviewing his stated agenda for rural communities.
Senate confirmation hearings of President-elect Obama's cabinet picks, including Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture, will begin after the Inauguration. There are lots of opinions out there about former Iowa Governor Vilsack, ranging from cautious optimism to clear opposition, and we encourage you to learn more at the links below. We invite you to think about how we can work together to ensure that federal farm policy serves western Massachusetts farmers and communities. Send your ideas to Kelly Coleman, CISA's Program Director.
Help Create the Winter Fare Farmers' Market and Week of Winter Fare
In the midst of winter, Franklin County will be abuzz with the fun and great flavors of an indoor farmers' market and community events celebrating locally grown food. The Winter Fare Farmers' Market will take place on Sat., Feb. 7 from 10 a.m - 2 p.m. at Greenfield High School (1 Lenox Avenue). The Market will include vendors selling locally grown and raised food, along with workshops, displays and a barter fair. From Feb. 7 to Feb. 14, the Week of Winter Fare will feature local food potlucks, films, recipe swaps, workshops, and tastings of "locally fermented fluids." To make these great community events, the all- volunteer Winter Fare organizing committee needs help:
New, Free Guide for Beginning Farmers
The Greenhorns, a small grass-roots non-profit and documentary project working to promote, recruit and support young farmers in America, has created a new guide book for anyone interested in pursuing a professional career in the field of sustainable agriculture. The free 30-page guide covers some of the major areas of institutional support for young farmers, some likely venues of learning and useful references. The guide is intended to provide a sense of how to approach the many hurdles with style, persistence, and improvisational zip.
Local Eating Tip
Okay, okay, so you ate all of those vegetables that you bought at the farmers' market last summer instead of preserving them for winter. No need to worry. You can still enjoy a delicious meal using locally grown food because Hedgie's Hot Stuff, a Local Hero specialty foods producer, did the canning for you. Here's a great recipe from Hedgie's for Crock Pot Chicken.
Be sure to check out CISA' s events page for updates and additions throughout the month.
Native Seed Propagation Workshop
Wednesday, January 14
Matt Kunze, New England Wild Flower Society's chief propagator, focuses this workshop on all aspects of native wildflower seed propagation, including appropriate storage of seed, scarification, stratification, media selection, and proper germination conditions. The workshop is hands-on, and all materials including seeds are provided. The workshop will be held at Nasami Farm in Whately for a $22 fee for Wildflower Society members and $26 for non-members. For more information, or to register, please call (508) 877-7630, ext. 3303 or visit the Society's website.
8th Annual NOFA 5-day Organic Land Care Accredidation Course
January 14, 15, 16, 20 AND 21
This course covers all topics of organic landscaping, taught by experts, scientists and professionals in the field. The class will be held at the Doyle Conservation Center in Leominster, Mass. For more information, contact Kathy Litchfield at (413) 773-3830 or visit the website.
CSA Farm Inauguration Party & Fundraiser
Benefiting Amherst & Northampton Survival Centers
Saturday, January 17
Brookfield Farm, Simple Gifts Farm, Red Fire Farm, Riverland Farm, and Stone Soup Farm and several individuals are sponsoring an Inaugural Celebration and Dance to benefit the Amherst and Northampton Survival Centers. Dance to The No-No's from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Red Barn at Hampshire College. Light refreshments and cash bar. Tickets $10 & $5 for students (purchased at the door).
Is Leasing Right for You?
NOFA/Massachusetts Winter Conference
Saturday, January 17
Access to farmland is one of the biggest challenges for new farmers. For many, leasing may be an effective strategy. Leases can offer you affordable, flexible and secure access to farms, land, and buildings. Join Land For Good for a workshop and an online tutorial on leasing for farmers. Find out about leases and leasing -- what's in a lease, types of leases and how to negotiate a good lease. More information under NOFA Winter Conference, below.
22nd NOFA Annual Winter Conference
Saturday, January 17
Join the Northeast Organic Farming Association for the 22nd Annual Winter Conference, Organic Farming: The Roots of a Sustainable Community. The conference will be held at Worcester Vocational Technical High School in Worcester from 9:00am-5:30pm. Pre-registration is now open. For more information, visit the NOFA/Mass website or contact Conference Coordinator, Jassy Bratko at (978) 928-5646.
King Corn documentary screening
Wednesday, January 21
Live Well Springfield is sponsoring a free public dinner and viewing of this documentary, which investigates how corn has become a staple in American diets. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Springfield YMCA is hosting the dinner and viewing (275 Chestnut Street). Please RSVP to Baystate Health Link at 413- 794-2255 or 1-800-377-HEALTH or Baystatehealthlink@bhs.org (include your contact information and event title "King Corn").
Continuing The Legacy of Your Farm:
Succession Planning for Retiring and Next-Generation Farmers
Wednesday, January 21
It's never too early -- or too late -- to plan for your farm transfer. If you hope to pass your farm to the next generation or to someone outside the family, this workshop is for you. In this introductory session, Dave Gott and Kathy Ruhf will go over the basics of farm succession planning, from goal setting to land use, retirement, estate and legal issues. Workshop participants are eligible for follow-up small group or individual sessions to get into more detail. Dave and Kathy both live in western Massachusetts and have worked with farm families around succession issues for many years. The workshop is sponsored by the Transferring the Farm Project and Land For Good, with support from the USDA/Risk Management Education Program at the University of Vermont. The workshop will be held at the CISA office (One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, Mass.) from 6:00 to 8:30pm. To register for the event, or for more information, please contact Devon Whitney-Deal at (413) 665-7100.
In the Bleak Mid-Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, January 24
The United Church of Bernardston is opening its doors for an indoor winter farmers' market from 9 a.m. to noon. Chase Hill Farm (cheese/meat), Little Brook Farm (wool blankets, grass-fed lambs), Diemand Farms (prepared foods), a maple syrup producer and more will be on hand. Have something to sell? Email Steve Damon for more information. Table fee is $20 for a 20 square foot space or $10 for half a space and electricity is available.
CISA's Volunteer Orientation and Training
Tuesday, January 27
CISA is hosting a two-part volunteer orientation and training session for anyone interested in donating their time and energy to support our work. From 6:30 to 7:30 pm, we'll introduce volunteers to the broad scope of CISA's work and history as well as provide information on how volunteers can make the most of their experience with our organization. At 7:30, we'll have a half-hour training for anyone interested in serving as a Community Outreach Volunteer. See article in the "CISA News" section above for details.
Carmelina's Martini Dinner With a New Local Twist!
Tuesday, January 27
Carmelina's, a Local Hero restaurant, is hosting a V-One Vodka martini dinner that will teach you how to infuse vodka using natural, fresh and local ingredients! Sample martinis with each course along side your host, Paul Kozub, owner of V-One. Book your reservation soon because seats will go fast. These dinners sold out last year. Tickets are $50.00 per person. Check Carmelina's website in the coming weeks for menu and time. Call 413-584-8000 to reserve your spot.
An Introduction to Best Marketing Practices
Wednesday, January 28
This CISA workshop will introduce the concept of marketing and branding agricultural businesses and the importance of putting your customers and their needs at the center of your marketing strategy. The session will help participants define their "target audience" and provide exercises and tools to help farmers develop or update their own plans for reaching out and connecting with their customers. The session will be held at the CISA office in South Deerfield from 6:00-8:30pm. The workshop fee is $10 for Local Hero members or $15 for non-members. This workshop is one in a six-workshop series on marketing. To register for one or all the workshops, contact Devon at (413) 665-7100.
Let's Talk Turf: Organic Lawns
Wednesday, January 28 (snow date January 29)
This workshop, co-sponsored by the NOFA OLC Program and ELA, will be held at the Doyle Conservation Center, Leominster, Mass. The workshop with feature Chip Osborne and Bernadette Giblin. Plus, interactive roundtable discussion on organic lawns, transitioning, selling to clients, and more. Cost: $25 ELA members and NOFA AOLCPs; $35 non-members. To register, call (617) 436-5838 or send your check to ELA, 1257 Worcester Rd., Framingham, MA 01701. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, visit the ELA website or the NOFA Organic Land Care Program website.
Job Opening: The Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, MA, seeks one full season Assistant Grower and 2-3 full time summer Harvest/Weeder Crew. We are a 7 acre organic (not certified) vegetable farm growing many kinds of specialty vegetables for local restaurants and farmers' markets with the philosophy of providing the highest quality, best tasting, and most beautiful produce to our community. The Assistant Grower position is a full-time, April- October position with competitive salary. We are looking for a highly motivated and hard working individual with at least 2 years of vegetable experience to help with all aspects of running the farm, including but not limited to field preparation, planting, cultivation, tractor operation, greenhouse work, harvesting, packing and delivering orders, running farmers' market stand, managing other workers, and generally seeing that things get done. April-October, salary $1600/month, or commensurate with experience. Affordable housing and bus routes within walking distance of farm. Harvest/Weeder Crew positions are full time May 15-September or October. Responsibilities include harvesting all types of vegetable crops, weeding, transplanting and selling at farmers' market. Pay is $8- 9/hour, depending on experience. Farm experience is preferred, speed, efficiency, and attention to detail are essential. Contact Caroline or Tim at (413) 387-5163.
Job Opening: The Organic Trade Association (OTA) seeks a new staff salesperson for our membership team. The focus of the New Member Development Manager is identifying, recruiting and closing new memberships, via phone and personal visits. We are looking for an organized, enthusiastic, and flexible individual who is capable of thinking on his/her feet and is motivated by OTA's mission. Prospective candidates should have a minimum three years of selling and prospecting with success, proficiency with Microsoft Office software, availability for periodic extended travel, and a desire to succeed. This is a salary plus incentive position with full benefits. For full job description go to our website. Please send by regular mail (no emails) a cover letter, resume, and salary history to Membership Director, OTA, PO Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302.
Job Opportunity: Executive Director. NOFA/Mass is seeking a new Executive Director. We are looking for someone who is well grounded in organic agriculture, who is good with and enjoys people (20 staff and 11 board members, 1000 members), who is decisive, inclusive and collaborative, and who is a visionary with strong practicality skills. This person must have strong fiscal skills ($775,000 budget) and must be able to keep a working knowledge of all NOFA programs. There is no deadline for application at this juncture. Send resumes to Julie Rawson at firstname.lastname@example.org; 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005. The new person will overlap with Julie, the current Executive Director, for a number of months (to be determined) to provide a smooth transition. Feel free to call Julie at (978) 355-2853 to talk. Visit the NOFA/Mass website for a full job description.
Job Opportunity: Gardening the Community seeks a Youth Program and Farm Coordinator, who is responsible for running a productive and friendly farm program in Springfield, MA. Duties would include: (1) managing 5 city agricultural plots to grow organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers; (2) overseeing GTC program participation in 3 farmers' markets during July - September, including marketing and publicity for vegetable sales; (3) Initiating capital improvement projects on land parcels to increase beauty and effectiveness. 20 hours/week @$11 per hour February - October (with potential year round employment for the right fit). To apply send a letter of interest, resume and three references to Kristin Brennan at email@example.com or Gardening the Community, 127 Marlborough Street, Springfield, MA 01109. A full job description can be found at the NOFA/Mass website . If you have questions, please call the Gardening the Community's voicemail at 413-538-5822. We'll get right back to you!
Job Opportunity: Red Fire Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm in Granby, Mass., has openings for: Tractor Operator, Planting Manager, Bookkeeper, Vegetable Grower, and Intern. Red Fire is the largest CSA serving the Boston area and the Pioneer Valley, and a provider in local wholesale and retail markets, including our local farm stands and a farmers' market. We are a financially successful, established farm with diverse markets. Located in the vibrant Five-College area. All positions require a desire to learn and improve, a hardy work ethic, and a rock-solid good attitude. Compensation varies by position, some salaried, some includes housing, food, stipend, and health insurance. Please visit www.redfirefarm.com for position descriptions and how to apply. Contact Sarah: 413- 467-7645, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer: Seeking energetic folks for short- term relationship at Winter Fare Farmers' Market on Sat., Feb. 7. Set-up, clean-up, soup cashier, composting/recycling, and all-round helpful volunteer opportunities available. Also seeking community groups to sponsor local food potlucks, recipe swaps, films, panel discussions, and workshops during the Week of Winter Fare, a celebration of locally grown food, Feb. 7 - 14. For more information, visit www.winterfare.org, contact email@example.com, or call Claire Morenon at 413-665-7100, Ext 16.
Volunteer: CISA has a number of volunteer opportunities available. Whether you want to join a committee, help out in the office, or table at an event, we've got it all. Training provided for people interested in volunteering. Visit the Get Involved section of the CISA website for a list of opportunities.
Volunteer: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is teaming up with Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest) and more than 180 food banks around the country to collect data for Hunger in America 2009. You can help raise awareness about the extent of hunger and its causes by volunteering as a Hunger Study Interviewer. Training for volunteers will take place in January. Client interviews will be conducted February through April. For more information, please call or email Erin Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-247-9738 ext 143.
Internship: CISA is seeking an intern (unpaid or work-study qualified) to assist with its continuing marketing and community outreach needs. For more information visit the job description on Idealist.
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. Space available from 200 to 1,000 square feet, which includes access to conference rooms and a kitchen. Heat and electricity are included. Call Jennifer at (413) 665-7100 or email at email@example.com.
For Rent: Houseshare available on small farm in Ashfield. Livestock or small-scale vegetable farming an option. Share 4 brm farmhouse with traveling permaculture minded professional, one dog, one cat and small mixed poultry flock on 6 acres. Irrigation water available. Great access to recreation opportunities and local farmers' market. Sunny, well insulated house, great views. $450/mo inclusive per person. Call (413) 475-0864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Sale: Terrific sales on locally grown FSC- certified hardwood flooring and lumber from the Massachusetts Woodlands Co-operative, www.masswoodlands.coop. Call 413-397-8800 for details on cherry, birch, maple, ash and oak.
For Sale: Dairy goats bred to kid in late March, Alpine and Alpine/Nubian. Healthy -No CAE, CL, Johnnes or hoof problems. Enrolled in scrapie-free program. For sale to good homes, Hillman Farm, Colrain. 413-624- 3646.
All items in classifieds will run for two months unless re-posted. To list an advertisement in the classified section, please contact Tracie Butler-Kurth.
Please do not take images or content to use on your own site or project without the CISA's explicit permission. Please feel free to link to our newsletter. Archives can be found at www.buylocalfood.com/Newsletterarchive.htm
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Phone: (413) 665-7100