November 2010 Issue
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Shhhhhh! Do you hear it? All the buzz about local food and farms?

Every day you can open a local newspaper and find an article about how more schools are sourcing from local farms, more farmers' markets are popping up or extending into the winter months, more grocery stores and community colleges are offering workshops on canning and food preservation. Everyone is talking about local food and farms!

And here at CISA, we couldn't be happier. Yet with all of this buzz, we know that we are sourcing about 10% of our food locally and there is so much more that needs to be done and many more people we need to reach.

Everyday decisions, like choosing where and how we shop, impact our small, family farms and the local economy. For help purchasing locally grown items for family suppers, celebrations, decorating, and gift-giving, we recommend using CISA's guide to local farms and related businesses. Your farmers, your family, and your community will thank you for it.

The CISA staff

Springfield Winter Fare: December 18th
From 10am-2pm on December 18th, the gymnasium at Springfield Technical Community College will be transformed into a bustling winter farmers' market, featuring an amazing range of food from local farmers. Springfield Winter Fare will also feature workshops on a variety of topics, a barter market, informational displays, and hot soup. Drop by, pick up some supplies for your holiday table, and mingle with friends and neighbors! And Save the Date for Northampton Winter Fare on January 15th. To volunteer, contact Ann at, and tell your friends via Facebook!

Share the Local Harvest
CISA's Senior FarmShare program has been providing shares of local farm produce to low-income seniors in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties since 2004. Since its inception, more than 1,800 shares have been distributed and local farmers have received over $200,000 for their produce. Government support for next year is highly unlikely as the state faces a $2 billion deficit. Between now and the close of January 2011, CISA needs to raise $30,000 to secure FarmShares for low income seniors and to establish a pool of matching funds for SNAP/food stamp purchases at local farmers' markets. To make your gift please visit our on-line giving page.

Pick the Local Agriculture story of the year!
What do you think was the biggest local agriculture story of the year? We've been mulling this over, but we'd like your input. Was it the rise of year round local eating? Or the interest in infrastructure for a local food system? The impact of agriculture on the local economy in a recession? Or something else entirely? Browse our agricultural news page for more stories on these topics and others, and let us know what you think by sending an email to

Winter Market Outlets
Wondering how to eat local in the winter? Check our web page for information about winter CSAs, farmstands, and farmers' markets. Amherst boasts two new winter farmers' markets this year; find more information here and here. Northampton and Springfield will also have regular winter markets.

Opportunity to hang with CISA
Looking for office space? Join CISA at our location in South Deerfield. Details can be found on our classifieds page.

Photo by Jason Threlfall.

Justamere Tree Farm
Local Christmas Trees
Looking for a Christmas tree for the 2010 holiday season? They're fresh, they smell good, and they support the local economy. Visit one of our Local Hero farms to find the tree you are searching for!

A local chicken in every pot
Fresh eggs are one of the pleasures of local eating. But until recently, locally grown poultry meat has been hard to come by. Thanks, in part, to new options for slaughtering birds, locally grown chickens and turkeys are showing up at farmers markets, farmstands, and retailers. Read about 4 local poultry farms and the challenges they face getting their birds to our tables in our farm profile.

News from Local Hero Members
Local Hero farmers and business owners are a busy and productive lot, with a wide variety of accomplishments and activities that we're always pleased to see. Recently, we learned that Real Pickles Organic Garlic Dill Pickles were finalists for the national Good Food Awards and that the sheep at Sojourner Design have been certified scrapie-free. Bug Hill Farm has recently received a loan from The Carrot Project, which did a nice profile of the farm (see page 3). They will also receive financing from the USDA's Farm Services Agency to expand off-season production with an additional hoop house. Our Local Hero News page can help you stay abreast of the latest!

Photo by Tracie Butler-Kurth.

PVGrows Loan Fund For Food and Agricultural Infrastructure Businesses
CISA is a founding member of the new PVGrows Loan Fund, which offers low-interest loans to businesses that fill key gaps in the infrastructure of the Pioneer Valley local food system. The fund's first loan will go to Athol-based Organic Renaissance, to facilitate the provision of fresh, locally grown farm products to restaurants, retailers and other buyers.

PVGrows is looking for committed entrepreneurs with well-researched plans to develop facilities or activities which expand the market for Pioneer Valley-grown agricultural products, such as post-harvest handling, processing, marketing or distribution. Now accepting new applications. Next Deadlines: December 15, 2010 & February 15, 2011.

Food Safety Legislation Update
Both the Senate and the House have now passed food safety legislation, including the Tester amendment which recognizes the different risks presented by small farms and processors selling direct to consumers. A Constitutional technicality requires the Senate to vote on the bill again, but passage is expected. Next steps will be closely watching the writing of regulations related to the bill, and helping those farms and local processors which will face new reporting and procedural requirements to understand and meet those requirements. For more details about how the bill may be interpreted after it is signed, see Grist.

Find out about workshops, farm festivals, film screenings, and other local farm-related events on the Events and Education page of our web site. Be sure to bookmark the page and check it often as we regularly update the page throughout the month.

Here's a sample of what's ahead:
  • Nuestras Raíces and the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council present Photo Voice, a youth project documenting the path of fresh, healthy vegetables from the Nuestras Raíces farm to the school lunch plate. Enjoy a fresh-cooked meal made by Holyoke youth and hear how they are working with the schools to transform meals. Tuesday, December 14, 5-7 pm, Holyoke Health Center.

Please do not take images or content to use on your own site or project without CISA's explicit permission. Please feel free to link to our newsletter. Archives can be found at

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
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Phone: (413) 665-7100