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Gardening the Community Youth Participants

Photo courtesy of Gardening the Community



In July, the season of true abundance begins in the Pioneer Valley. "Native Sweet Corn" signs are up, and farmstands, farmers' markets, grocery stores and CSAs are offering a wide variety of delicious and colorful vegetables and fruits. Farmers have long been generous with their crops, donating surplus to the Food Bank, food pantries, and local events. Recently, exciting new partnerships are creating new options for accessing fresh, healthy food in several neighborhoods across the Valley. A short list of new projects includes:

Meanwhile, Hampden County residents continue to work together to clean up and rebuild following June's tornado. Some projects with a focus on local food access were directly impacted, including young gardeners and garden sites at Gardening the Community and Square One Preschool, a participant in the Farm to Preschool program profiled here. 


Sharing food is one of the best ways to build community. I hope that you, too, find opportunities to eat and work with your friends and neighbors in the coming weeks.


Margaret Christie
Special Projects Director 


CISA Welcomes New Development Director

We are delighted that Stacy Carkonen has joined us as our Development Director. Stacy and her family recently moved from Washington State and are settling in to western Massachusetts. Despite the distance, Stacy notes that she's finding some similiarities: 

Growing up in the Puyallup River Valley in Washington State, I was surrounded by lush berry fields and thriving flower bulb farms. Generations of kids, including my siblings and me, worked in the berry fields and then moved up to digging, sorting and shipping bulbs. Although I know I'm a long way from home, the Pioneer Valley reminds me a lot of the green fields in Washington I left behind. My family and I are so excited to start planting our roots here, and to join a community that is so committed to keeping the farms and farmland of Western Massachusetts thriving.

Read Stacy's full bio here.


Guests enjoy wine from Local Hero Mineral Hills Winery.

Because a good time and a good cause always go together!

CISA is holding house parties in 2011 to generate funds to strengthen the connection between farmers and the communities they feed. In June, Ron Skinn, Jack Hornor and Lisa Baskin co-hosted a wonderfully successful house party with support from Local Hero members The Great Wall, Mineral Hills Winery and Northampton Brewery. It was attended by 65 supporters and brought in over $11,000 in donations and multi-year pledges. If you would like to come to one of our upcoming house parties in Ashfield on July 28 or Amherst on October 23 , contact Jennifer@buylocalfood.org. If you would like to hold a house party yourself, contact our Development Director, Stacy Carkonen, at Stacy@buylocalfood.org.  


Food preservation workshop/farm tour for CISA Community Members
CISA staff member Margaret Christie and Next Barn Over Farm team up to offer a food preservation workshop and farm tour to CISA community members and farm shareholders on June 18th. To learn more about CISA's community membership program, or to join, click here; to register for the workshop, email Jennifer@buylocalfood.org.


Energy Efficiency Workshop for Dairy Operations

Thursday, July 21st, 6-8pm
Mapeline Farm, Hadley
Paul Kokoski of Mapleline Farm will lead a tour of his farm and dairy operation. Learn about the energy enhancements Paul has implemented to improve his business with the help of grant funding from multiple sources. Jess Cook from the Mass Farm Energy Program will be present to share what other local dairy operations have done to improve efficiency and to tell you more about the resources currently available for farmers. Suggested donation $5 and snacks will be provided. Please RSVP to Devon Whitney-Deal  at 413-665-7100, ext. 22.


Women in Agriculture Network's Hands-On Shed Building Workshop 

Thursday, August 4th, 5:30-8:30pm, at Fleury Lumber, Easthampton 

Thursday, August 11th, 5:30-8:30pm, Conway
Mindy Cotherman, handywoman and Pedal to Properties real estate agent, will lead this two-session workshop to teach the mechanics of building a shed. Learn adaptable carpentry skills, such as roof and wall construction, that can be applied to larger-scale projects. In this workshop, you will mark, cut, and assemble lumber. Suggested donation $25, dinner included. This workshop is limited to 15 attendees, with farmers having priority. Please RSVP to Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100, ext. 22.


These CISA technical assistance workshops are supported in part by USDA/Risk Management Agency and by individual contributors and Local Hero members.

Sorrel, Cliff, and Rhys Hatch of

Upinngil Farm

Local Hero Award winner Uppingill Farm

Local Hero Award winners Clifford Hatch and his adult children Sorrel and Rhys operate a diverse farm "up in Gill." Their products, which include grains, milk, cheeses, vegetables, and fruit, are sold entirely from the farmstand at Upinngill Farm. Read more about why CISA awarded them a 2011 Local Hero Award here...


Food, Community, and the Black Sheep

Nick Seamon, of Amherst's Black Sheep Deli and Bakery, studied agriculture and worked on farms before opening the Black Sheep 25 years ago. Now, he grows some of the produce used in the Black Sheep's sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. Learn more about this Local Hero restaurant here... 


Protecting Native Pollinators

Local Hero member Ray Ellsworth, of Mountain Pasture Farm, wrote about protecting native pollinators on his fruit and berry farm. The story, on the Master Gardener's Association website, includes a link to a detailed resource guide on the subject.

Tomatoes!Tomato Season!

The first field-grown tomatoes are appearing in farmstands, farmers' markets, and CSA shares up and down the Valley.  They're luscious, juicy, and colorful. If you need any more reasons to appreciate local tomatoes - and to dry, can or freeze some for the winter months - we recommend NPR's recent story, How Industrial Farming "Destroyed" the Tasty Tomato, a review and excerpt of Barry Estabrook's book Tomatoland. A list of farms selling locally grown tomatoes can be found here.

CISA's events calendar is full of farm and food related events:  workshops, farm festivals, film screenings, and lots more.  Here is just a small sample of what you'll find on our website.    

  1. Local Feast Cooking Class: Summer Favorites
    Saturday, July 16, 2pm-5pm
    Friends Meeting House, 43 Center Street, Northampton
    Things really start heating up with local produce! An abundance of flavors and colors get our creative juices flowing. Email mollymerrett@gmail.com or call 518-435-5062 to register. Class is $25-50, sliding scale.
  2. Permaculture Design Course
    Friday, July 29-Sunday, July 31
    Ashfield, MA
    This is the first in a four-session course is designed for busy people who want to take a Permaculture Design Course but can't get away for a 9-day course.  This certified 72-hour Permaculture Design Course (PDC) taught by Terra-Genesis's Mary Johnson will incorporate field trips to local farms, cultural events and guest appearances from other local teachers. Mary has been teaching and working internationally for many years and brings strong practical experience to her permaculture design perspective that is grounded in farm business planning and holistic management. A 50% discount to CISA members! 
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 www.buylocalfood.org.


Phone: (413) 665-7100  

Website: http://www.buylocalfood.org       


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

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