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Seeds of Solidarity's new farmstand. Photo courtesy of Deb Habib.


One reason to buy locally grown is to reduce the use of energy in transporting food to us.  Another is to support the farms and food businesses in our local food system who are reducing their use of fossil fuel energy for production, processing, and delivery. Farmers pay for energy in many different forms, including fuel for tractors and trucks, fertilizer, and heating and cooling of buildings and crops.  Processors, of course, power equipment, heating and cooling systems, and trucks used for distribution.  Local food system businesses are cutting their fossil fuel bills through energy conservation and increased use of renewable energy sources, including solar, geothermal, and animal power.


Two local businesses are marking their increased use of solar power with a mix of celebratory and educational events in the next month.  Seeds of Solidarity in Orange, MA recently installed a farmstand photovoltaic system to power a refrigerator for their greens and other produce, with support from the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program. They'll have both a farm tour and a no-till gardening and farming workshop on June 4th.  Real Pickles celebrates their 10th year in business and move to 100% solar power with a party - and a chance to learn from their solar installers - on May 26th. 


CISA will host a workshop on energy-efficiency for maple syrup operations on May 17th at Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington.  See CISA's events page for more information on all of these events!


You, too, can reduce the energy required to transport your food to your table.  Think about combining trips, biking, or carpooling to the farmers' market, your CSA pick-up, or your local retailer.


Margaret Christie
Special Projects Director 


Job Opening:  Director of Development

CISA is hiring a full-time Director of Development to provide strategic direction, management and coordination for our fundraising efforts.  Full job description and application instructions here.


Many thanks and good wishes to Pamela Barnes, who has served as CISA's Director of Development since 2006.


Spring Shopping List

CISA has made a spring shopping list to help Valley residents identify seasonal farm products.  Local spring treats include early greens and sweet turnips as well as favorites like asparagus and strawberries, and much more. CISA's list of Local Hero CSAs and our "Use SNAP for Local" page can also help you find locally grown food all season long.  And look out for our print guide to local farm products, Locally Grown, in early June.


Workshops for farmers' market vendors, farmstands, and syrup producers

CISA's May workshops will focus on great displays and customer service at farmstands and farmers' markets (May 23) and on energy efficiency for maple syrup operations (May 17).  We'll also present at a May 31st workshop coordinated by Nuestras RaĆ­ces on selling at farmers' markets which will include a tour of a farmers' market with farmers in the Nuestras Raices Tierra de Opportunidades program.  All workshops are open to the public.  See our workshops and technical assistance page for details and registration information.  

Moonshine Design at Keldaby Farm Profile
Bob Ramirez and Cynthia Herbert have been raising angora goats for fiber at Keldaby Farm since the 1980s. When asked about how they see fiber fitting into the "buy local" movement, Cynthia says, "The same way as food! The open countryside will exist only as long as there are farmers, and farmers need enough income to survive." Read more about Moonshine Design at Keldaby Farm.  

River Valley Market sends local asparagus to the White House

With help from Congressman Richard Neal's office, River Valley Market sent a crate of fresh asparagus from Smiarowski's Farm in Sunderland to Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. The crate was decorated with ribbons and a card inviting Mrs. Obama, who has an interest in sustainable food, to visit the co-op.

New Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate Program at UMass

UMass will offer a new 15-credit Certificate Program in Sustainable Food and Farming.  Credits may be earned on campus, mixed on campus and online, or entirely online.

Below are a couple of upcoming farm-and food-related events of interest. Find out about workshops, farm festivals, film screenings, and other local farm-related events on our web site.

  1. Livestock Tour and Plant Swap & Sale, May 14th, 9 am - 12:30 pm, at North Amherst Community Farm, home of Simple Gifts Farm.  Swap or buy plants, check out the new children's garden, and enjoy a hayride tour of the oxen, cows, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs at the biodynamic Simple Gifts Farm.
  2.  Slow Living Summit, June 1-3, Brattleboro, VT.  Join fellow sustainability experts (including CISA's Phil Korman) from business, education, government and non-profit organizations from New England and beyond at the first Slow Living Summit.  Explore ways to build healthy, thriving local economies while encouraging, mentoring and supporting a new generation of activists, entrepreneurs and engaged citizens.
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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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