September 2009 Issue
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True to our name, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, we've launched a new web site to serve as a foundation for building connections between farmers, buyers, and residents and communities throughout the Valley. As you read this month's enews, you'll notice more of the articles are directly linked to the new web site as well, allowing us to bring you more information without cluttering your inbox.

"Our organization's strength is building connections between farmers and the community," says CISA's Executive Director, Phil Korman. "We're really excited to use the new web site as a networking tool to facilitate connections that could not as easily happen offline."

Visitors to the new web site can type in the name of a town or a desired product and find the closest farmers' market, farm stand, grocer or restaurant, making it easy to choose locally grown products. Families, out-of-town visitors, and fun-loving folks of all kinds will find great ideas on the new web site's events page - from a photo opportunity with a local llama to the now-famous Mike's Maze at Warner Farms. For farmers, there are updated resource lists, links, and tip sheets and manuals based on CISA's technical assistance programming.

We'd also like your input on the web site. Send us your favorite recipes, nominate someone for our "Local Hero" awards, or contribute your photographs of local farms, markets, and products. We know that building community takes time and commitment, and we hope that this new website provides a way for people to get involved in supporting local agriculture, helping us all to grow the business of local farms.

CISA staff worked with a talented volunteer group of marketing professionals to assess our web site needs, and with skilled designers to create the beautiful site. The web site design facilitates easy updating, and we look forward to continued improvements. Meanwhile, you'll note that this newsletter links you to many locations on the web site, giving you lots of opportunities to explore, enjoy our pictures of local farms and products, and find the new resources on the site.

We hope that you enjoy these early fall days and the bounty of good food that they bring!

Senior FarmShare recipient
Save Senior FarmShare
CISA's Senior FarmShare Program makes it possible for more than 300 low-income elders to share in the bounty of our local farms. Our state funding for the program has been eliminated. Help save this vital program.

Eat the View Tickets Going Fast - Buy Online Now!
Join us for Eat the View, CISA's annual benefit and celebration of the local harvest. October 2nd at the Three-County Fairgrounds, Northampton. Help support CISA's work to keep local agriculture thriving in the Valley. Come bid on the many silent and live auction items, including dinner for two at Blue Hill in New York, a week's stay at a cottage in South Africa, and more. This event always sells out! Buy your tickets online now.

Help CISA on October 1, 2, and 3
CISA is looking for a cadre of volunteers to help with the set-up, production, and clean-up of Eat the View, our annual benefit. We need your help to transform the main arena at the Three County Fairgrounds into a wonderful showcase of local farms and the foods they produce. Volunteers are needed to assist with setting up tables and assembling decorations as well as other pre-event tasks. Assistance also needed to help with post-event deconstruction. Some heavy lifting may be required. If you are available during daytime hours on Wednesday - Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, or evening hours on Thursday and Friday, October 1 and 2, please contact Tracie Butler-Kurth, Community Membership Coordinator.

Our August article on farmers' efforts to make sure that all local residents have access to locally grown food misrepresented the relationship between Mountain View Farm and the Food Bank Farm. The Food Bank Farm, supported by their CSA shareholders, produces about 200,000 pounds of produce for the Food Bank each year. Ben Perrault and Liz Adler of Mountain View Farm also manage the Food Bank Farm fields, and occasionally supplement produce grown at the Food Bank Farm with produce from Mountain View's fields in Easthampton and Hadley.

Thank you volunteers
We had a number of volunteers help us in and out of the office this summer and we'd like to recognize their hard work and dedication. Our community outreach volunteers represented us at local farmers' markets and food festivals. Many thanks to Lindsey Britt, Molly Corbett, Molly Sauvain, Ann Pemberton, and Katy van Geel for your support. We'd like to single out Andrea Love, a Hampshire College student who spent her Thursday afternoons standing in the entry of Whole Foods Market in Hadley, promoting our community membership program and distributing the 2009 Locally Grown guide. Kudos to Amanda Bennett, a Deerfield Academy student, who was essential in helping prepare images in our digital photo collection for the new web site.

Review of Recipe for America
By Tracie Butler-Kurth, Community Membership Coordinator

A few weeks ago, CISA had the pleasure of hosting Jill Richardson, founder of the blog La Vida Locavore, when she was in New England touting her recently published book Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We can Do to Fix It. Jill met with CISA community members during a reception at Boswell's Books in Shelburne Falls and spoke extensively about her book during the public portion of her evening. Read more...

Photo by Rachel Chandler-Worth

Allison Landale
Profile: Allison Landale of The Bars Farm
For the first time in a long time, Allison Landale is working only one job: managing her family's farm in Deerfield. Like many farmers, Allison had an off-farm job for years so she and her husband Dean could earn enough to support their family. Read more...

Jarret Man named to Mother Nature Networks' 40 under 40
Jarret Man of Stone Soup Farm was #30 on the list, which noted that his farming practices go above and beyond the required standards for "organic."

Austin Brothers Valley Farm reinvents itself with meat CSA
Austin Brothers Valley Farm is operated by the 4th and 5th generation of Austin men and women on 130 acres of green pasture in Belchertown. The farm remains the center of family life for the extended Austin family, and the family made a joint decision three years ago to change from dairy farming to raising beef cattle. Michael Austin, his family, and his parents, Bill and Roxanne Austin, are now starting a meat Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation, which will allow customers to purchase shares of beef and/or pork year-round, starting with a three-month commitment. The farm's beef products include beef sausages, roasts and steaks. Pork products include pork chops, spare ribs, bacon, hams and breakfast sausages. 100-mile dieters are some of the farm's best customers, but Michael admits that the farm location, far from the center of Belchertown, can be a problem. The family will deliver meat CSA shares to area towns, allowing customers convenient access to great local meat. Austin Brothers Valley Farm raises their cattle on green pasture, hay, silage and fresh water. No hormones or feed additives are used. The beef is USDA inspected and dry aged for 14-21 days for tenderness and taste. For more information, visit or contact Michael at 413-668-6843.

Chestnut Farms featured on Living on Earth
Local Hero member Kim Denney of Chestnut Farms spoke with NPR's Living on Earth about the meat CSA that she owns and operates in Hardwick, Massachusetts.

CISA staff photo.

Farmland with open view.
Understanding the dairy crisis
The New York Times ran an op-ed on August 26th about the current low federal milk price, well below the cost of production for most Northeastern dairy farms. The Times' editors provide only lukewarm support for governmental measures to help Northeastern dairy farmers survive, but emphasize one of the most important reasons that the success or failure of dairy farms impacts all of us: dairy farms manage a significant amount of our agricultural land, keeping it open and productive. We all benefit from keeping these farms active and successful. For more on dairy farming, see this recent NPR story.

Volunteer at the Big E
The Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets is looking for volunteers to help staff a booth at The Big E in West Springfield between Friday, September 18th and Sunday, October 4th. Volunteers typically donate six hours of their time on any given day, in exchange for free parking and all-day admission to the fair. The Federation sells locally grown product to the crowds in order to raise funds for our work. If you are interested in volunteering for one or more days, please contact Martha at or at 781-893-8222.

Winter Farmers' Markets
Want to buy local all year round? Looking for a market for your winter products? A number of winter markets will be held next winter, including an outdoor winter market in Springfield. The once a month market will take place in the parking lot of Trinity Church on Sumner Avenue. Details will be forthcoming, but if you want to sell at the market, contact Belle Rita Novak at 413-737-1724. Greenfield's Winter Fare will have its third annual market on the 1st Saturday in February, and CISA is planning a one-day Winter Fare for Northampton. Contact Claire Morenon, CISA's program coordinator, if you're interested in helping with those markets. We'll also be publicizing all winter market opportunities, CSA shares, weekly markets, and one-time events-on our website. Contact Devon Whitney-Deal, CISA's Local Hero Membership Services Coordinator if you'd like to be included on our list.

Photo from CISA files
Below are a few upcoming farm and farm-related events of interest. Additional events, in September and beyond can be found on the events page on our web site. Some of them are simply a-mazing (hint, hint).

  • Head over to Fiber Twist at the Greenfield High School on Saturday, September 26, is an annual event for fiber farmers, spinners, dyers, weavers, knitters and other fiber artists. Think farmers' market without food -- but lots of wool.

  • On Wednesday, September 23, Northampton's On the Same Page program will hold a discussion in the common room of the Forbes Library about the politics of eating locally. Philip Korman, CISA's Executive Director, will serve as an expert on the panel that evening.

  • Join with friends, family and farmers at CISA's 2009 Eat the View dinner and silent/live auction on Friday, October 2, from 6-10pm. Celebrate CISA's 15th year working to raise awareness about the benefits of local agriculture. Join us for an evening of great locally grown food, an exciting array of items in our silent and live auctions, and the chance to meet and mingle with friends old and new. Details and tickets available online at

  • Be sure to check out CISA's events page for updates and additions throughout the month.
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