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Cover of the 2011 Farm Products Guide. 


Locally Grown, CISA's annual Farm Products Guide, arrives this week in retail stores, on farmstands, and in daily papers throughout the region.   It's a comprehensive guide, with information about farms and businesses serving or sourcing locally grown farm products. You'll also find farmers' market information, farm festivals, tips for including more locally grown farm products in your life, and profiles of our 2011 Local Hero Awardees.


Looking through past guides, it's easy to measure the explosion of interest in local agriculture and of marketing opportunities that link local residents and farms. We've been producing an annual farm products guide since 1997 (at first in collaboration with several local partners). The 2000 Guide lists 91 farms and 8 farmers' markets. This year, the Guide includes not only 207 farms and 42 farmers' markets, but landscape and garden centers, restaurants, specialty products, wholesalers, and dining services. The growth in year-round marketing, season extension, and new crops such as grains forced us to do a major overhaul in the Guide's seasonal availability chart two years ago. 


Newly interested in locally grown foods? Find the farms and markets nearest you in the Farm Products Guide. Already a connoisseur of local food and farms? Use the Guide to find farmstands or farmers' markets when you are travelling new routes in the Valley for a meeting or social event. Find a farm festival or restaurant serving seasonal meals. Browse the listings of farms and related businesses just to see the breadth of what the Valley has to offer. Of course, there's more online. Visit our website for a searchable Farm Products Guide, profiles of farmers, and an up to date list of farm and food related events.  


Margaret Christie
Special Projects Director 


Build your own Rain Barrel: Workshop for CISA Community Members

Learn how to situate and use rain barrels while prepping your own barrel for bug-free, efficient operation. $30 materials fee. This workshop is only open to CISA Community Members. To learn more about membership or to join, click here; to register for the workshop, email jennifer@buylocalfood.org. Space is limited, so sign up now! 


Whole Farm Planning participants on a recent farm tour.

Whole Farm Planning  

"Women Farmers Grow Strong," claimed NPR last January. We're happy to agree with all the meanings of that title, and we've been lucky enough to meet regularly with fifteen of Massachusetts' many strong women farmers for the second year of Whole Farm Planning course. The 10-part series focused on everything from financial planning and marketing to soil health and time management. Maribeth Ritchie of Sangha Farm said of her participation in the class, "The information I gained from taking the Holistic Farm Management class has given us the tools we need as we make important decisions about which direction to take our farm."


Great Turnout for May Workshops!

People lined up at the door and lingered in the parking lot before and after CISA's Farmstand Savvy Workshop last month in Holyoke. Farmers and farmers' market managers had lots of questions for presenter Bruce Baker about displays and customer service for farmstands and farmers' markets. Dinner provided opportunities for attendees to learn from the many on-the-ground experts in the room. Later in the month, nearly 30 people came to Justamere Tree Farm to see JP and Marian Welch's energy-efficient sugaring system and hear them describe the changes they've made with the support of the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program. 

Glenroy Buchanan

Local Hero Awards

Each year, CISA presents Local Hero Awards to individuals, institutions and businesses that are committed to promoting and strengthening local agriculture and have demonstrated long-term vision, social responsibility, or an environmental ethic in their work.  This year, award winners include Glenroy Buchanan of the Pioneer Valley Growers Cooperative, the CiderDays volunteer committee, and the Hatch Crosby family of Upinngill Farm.  Profiles of each awardee will appear here over the next few months.


Glenroy Buchanan's life revolves around making fresh locally grown food widely available.  He attends farmers' markets in six urban communities each week, bringing fresh, locally grown food. Read more about this Local Hero Award winner! 

Local food, farms, and related businesses in the news

See our Local Hero News page for recent stories about The People's Pint (and their very local beer), new farmers' markets, Enterprise Farm's Veggie Mobile, and more.

Weather, Local and Global

"A farmer griping about the weather is a cliché for sure," notes Tim Wilcox of the Kitchen Garden in a recent blog post on The Kitchen Garden Journal. Most of the time, the weather has more impact on farmers than on most people, but last week a tornado roared across  Hampden County, causing three deaths and extensive damage.  Extreme weather events are more likely as our climate changes.  Tim summarizes the dramatic and diverse weather events of the past several growing seasons, and muses about the potential for intensive, diverse, community-based farms to respond.  For a national perspective on the same topics, see Bill McKibben's Washington Post op-ed on climate change and tornadoes, and a recent New York Times article on feeding a "warming world".   


Support your favorite farmers' market (and some other ones, too!)

American Farmland Trust is sponsoring an "America's Favorite Farmers' Market" contest.  You can vote with your mouse, but we suggest some other options, too: vote with your feet, by making your favorite farmers' market a regular part of your schedule, and checking out other markets in the region, as well. Vote with your dollars, by prioritizing local food in your weekly food budget. Vote with your head, by supporting farm policy that works for diverse, family-owned New England farms. And vote with your time: ask the manager of your farmers' market how you can help, or visit farms to find out more about local agriculture, or learn to prepare or preserve foods in season so that you can eat locally year round.

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. Nasami Farm in Whately offers two gardening workshop in June, Container Gardening with Native Plants on June 11, 10am - 12 pm, and Wildflower Propagation on June 18, 10 am -3pm.  For more information, fees, and registration, call 508-877-7630, ext. 3303.
  2. Hardwick Farm Winery offers live jazz, local cheese and wine the first Sunday of every month, 3-5 pm, rain or shine.  They're near the Quabbin gate 43, so you can take a hike and then stop by for wine and music.
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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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