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Flooded crops at  Town Farm, Northampton
Flooded brassicas at
Town Farm, Northampton.


This week, CISA and partners launched the CISA Emergency Farm Fund, a revolving loan fund designed to help farmers recover from Hurricane Irene. The Fund will offer quick, zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses in the aftermath of the storm and flooding. Thanks to an anonymous donor who has put up a $50K match, CISA hopes to raise at least $100K for the fund, which will help farmers now and in the future.  


CISA could not have launched the Emergency Farm Fund without our partners: Whole Foods Market; Equity Trust; and the anonymous donor. But a much wider circle of community support was also critical to our efforts. In the days following Hurricane Irene, a wide variety of people called the CISA office, asking how they could help farmers whose crops or land was damaged by the storm. Callers volunteered to help with clean-up or spread the word for impacted farmers. Several people suggested that a revolving loan fund could help farmers survive this and future emergencies. 


As we began to consider the logistics and challenges of a loan fund (Where does the money come from? What kind of loan review allows a prompt and responsible response? What's the legal structure?), the calls kept coming. 



Donate to the fund...

Apply for a loan...



Milk, Cookies, Cows, and Farms

Join us for milk and cookies at Bree-Z-Knoll Farm, Saturday, October 15th from 1-4 pm.  Celebrate local family farming at this free family event which features milking demonstrations, a farm tour and a chance for children to meet the Bree-Z-Knoll cows. This event is co-sponsored by Mt. Grace Land Conservation, Our Family Farms and CISA in honor of Mt. Grace's 25th Anniversary. 160 North County Road, Leyden. 


Local Hero Yarn!

Local Hero farmer and CISA Board Member Diane Roeder of Sojourner Design has donated forty skeins of yarn to benefit the work of CISA! Gail Callahan, known as The Kangaroo Dyer, donated the color for this beautiful yarn. This one-time limited supply of yarn will be available at WEBS in Northampton. Priced at $22.95 per skein, get it while it lasts!


New Tip Sheet Guides Farmers Looking to Accept SNAP benefits

Many farmers and farmers' markets are interested in becoming eligible to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps), but are intimidated by the complex process involved in becoming authorized retailers. CISA's new tip sheet helps farmstands, CSA farms, and farmers' markets understand the process.  Our web page on SNAP and EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) includes links to other valuable resources as well. 


CISA Receives Department of Public Health Award

CISA is honored to be one of two recipients in the state to receive the Department of Public Health's Commissioner's Leadership Award. Presented at "Ounce of Prevention 2011: Communities Taking Charge and Making Change," the award recognizes CISA's leadership in creating a culture that recognizes the importance of local food and farms, works to improve access to good local food for all, and supports thriving farm businesses. 


Did you know that if you are 70½ or older, you can make a tax-free gift from your IRA until Dec. 31, 2011?
Under the extended charitable IRA legislation, you can make charitable gifts now to CISA using funds from your individual retirement accounts (IRAs) without undesirable tax effects. Check with your financial planner or tax advisor for more information.


Congratulations to Chase Hill Farm of Warwick, recipient of the 2011 New England Green Pastures Dairy Farm award for Massachusetts! Read more on our Local Heroes in the News page, where you'll also find stories about farm preservation in Conway, grain production in the Valley, and more!   


Cider Days Profile

Usually, we give our Local Hero Awards to individuals or organizations.This year, for the first time, we've given the award to a volunteer committee. But what a committee! The Cider Days Volunteer Committee has created an event that brings participants (and hard cider) from all over the world to Franklin County. Read all about it! (and check out this year's Cider Days events, coming up in November). 


Warm Colors Apiary Wins Accolades from Former White House Chef

Local Hero member Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary described a visit from former White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier. Mesnier, who was a White House chef for 26 years, used 225 pounds of Warm Colors Apiary honey in a honey custard served at UMass, and described Warm Colors Apiary honey as "the best he had ever used." The following day, Mesnier visited the farm, where his knowledge of honey plants and his ability to taste subtle differences in flavor and texture between different honeys amazed Dan.      

Opportunity for Massachusetts Residents to Impact National Farm and Food Policy

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry sits on the newly appointed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "Super Committee," charged with cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition notes that these "budget cuts could reinforce the status quo in agriculture and deepen negative trends while starving out positive programs. Or, they could be fashioned to make our nation's agriculture policy better." In either case, the actions of this committee may preempt the policy decisions normally made through the upcoming food and farm bill, and are likely to affect food, farm, and environmental policy for the next decade. The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group suggests calling Kerry with this message:

  • Farm conservation and environmental programs have already been cut deeply and should not be cut any further.
  • Reform of farm programs should target the advancement of local and regional food systems.
  • Farm commodity, insurance, and disaster program reform is long overdue. Reform should be done in a way that reduces spending, maintains a smaller more targeted farm safety net, and reinvests in job-creating rural economic development, local and regional food systems, and young and beginning farmers.

Spotlight on Local Food

October includes two new national events intended to spotlight the importance of food and farms. October 2011 is the first National Farm to School Month. And a wide variety of activities are planned nationwide to mark Food Day on October 24th; find local events here.  

Visit CISA's events calendar for a full listing of festivals as well as workshops, forums, films, and more. Here is just a small sample of what you'll find on our website.   


Farm Energy Networking Event, Monday, October 17, 4-6:30pm, Amherst. Learn about ways to reduce energy use on your farm and programs that can help you plan and fund these projects. More information here (scroll down).


PVGrows Fall Forum: Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are, Thursday, October 27, 9:30 am-1pm. Greenfield. An interactive session focused on entrepreneurship in the local food system. More information here.


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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