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Flooded crops at Natural Roots Farm, Conway

Photo Credit: Natural Roots, Conway, Massachusetts.


Farmers deal with - and worry about - the vagaries of the weather every day. The damage left by Hurricane Irene, however, was on a different scale. Absent high winds, many farms were spared significant damage, but those farms, homes, and businesses that were flooded experienced large losses of crops, equipment, and personal belongings. Farmers are still assessing the long-term impact of erosion, changed river courses, and flood-deposited mud, silt, and sand. Some farms lost particular crops when one field flooded, while others experienced widespread damage and may have little to market for the rest of the season. We are saddened by the loss of food and grieve with farmers for the hard work and investment of time and money in crops that cannot be harvested.


It's not yet clear what disaster assistance may be available to farmers and even when it is, how much of their losses will be covered. We are regularly updating our post-Irene information page for farmers. If you would like to contribute, see here for a list of funds that may provide some help to some farmers. 


Despite the damage to farms in low-lying areas, most farms in the region have a bounty of crops available. Even many farms that flooded only lost crops in some fields. Farmers' markets, farmstands, and retailers have lots of beautiful and delicious locally grown products for sale, and now, more than ever, your commitment to buy local is important. Farmers grow food for us in all kinds of weather - now's the time for us to show our support and appreciation.


Phil Korman 

Executive Director



On the Table, a local harvest dinner and auction to benefit CISA

Thursday, September 15th

Help support the farms and the farmland you love by joining us for CISA's annual benefit featuring a local harvest dinner that is sure to please the palate. This year's event will be held at the Garden House at Look Park in Northampton. Don't miss this gastronomical good time for a great cause. For more information or to buy tickets visit our website.


CISA Weekend on the Farm - Mike's Maze and Clarkdale Fruit Farms

Saturday, September 17th - Wind your way through the magic of Mike's Maze and support the work of CISA while you do it! You will "literally" love this maze made in the likeness of Noah Webster, of Webster's Dictionary fame. 

Sunday, September 18th - Join CISA on the farm and enjoy the fruits of the Pioneer Valley's fall harvest at Clarkdale Fruit Farms. Apples will of course be front and center, but don't forget the pears, grapes, plums, and peaches!

Part of the proceeds from CISA Weekend on the Farm will support our efforts to strengthen local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community. Many thanks to our friends at Warner Farm and Clarkdale Fruit Farms!


Hatfield Harvest 5k Race and 2 Mile Family Fun Run

Saturday, October 1st

Lace up your sneakers, grab the kids and join us for the Hatfield Harvest 5K Race and 2 Mile Family Fun Run/Walk. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a weekend wanderer you'll love the mainly off-road course that traverses beautiful Hatfield farmland and skirts the Connecticut River. Proceeds will benefit CISA and the Hatfield Agricultural Advisory Committee. Join us for grand views, great friends and good exercise, because a good sweat and great cause always go together. $20 on race day and kids 12 and under are free! Sign up by September 14th and it's only $15! Download your race application here.


CISA Internships
Many thanks to our talented and hard-working group of summer interns: Anna Luberoff, Jackie Slocombe, and Mary Katherine McNeill. CISA interns are critical to our success, and they tell us that they learn a lot and have fun, too. See our internship page to learn about our current needs.

It's not too late to visit the "Art in the Orchard" sculpture installation, open through Halloween at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton.


Two recent stories feature out-of-the-ordinary uses of the CSA marketing model.  Goldthread Apothecary's herbal medicine CSA was featured in stories by Karen Brown for WFCR  and the Boston Globe. Hungry Ghost Bakery is using "Bread Shares" to finance a building expansion and new mill which will allow them to expand their use of locally grown grains.


Whately's Long Plain Farm is the first Massachusetts farm partner in BJ Wholesale's 'Farm to Club' program, which aims to feature produce grown within the state where their stores are located.


Read more news about Local Hero Farms on CISA's Local Heroes in the News webpage.


Gleaning Local Fields

Gleaning is an age-old practice of picking produce left in the fields to feed those in need. Jessica Harwood, Gleaning Project Coordinator at Rachel's Table in Springfield, notes that gleaning is a good way to divert some of the 33 million tons of food Americans throw away every year, and provides information on local opportunities for gleaning. Read more ...  



Thinking Big: Changing Our Food System  

Buying local is a good way to support local farm and food businesses, but making big changes to our food system - to support local production, processing, and distribution, and fair access for all - requires advocacy at the local, state, and national level. Three recent and forthcoming publications discuss the role of public support, both community-based and governmental, in building strong local and regional food systems that provide healthy food for all residents. Read up and let's educate ourselves and take action on our values!

  • Fair Food focuses on efforts to create a just food system and is written by Oran Hesterman, a national leader in the movement. See CISA's book review. 
  • Market Forces: Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems, a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, states that public funding for 100 to 500 farmers markets a year for five years could create as many as 13,500 jobs.
  • Scaling Up Local Food: Investing in Farm & Food Systems Infrastructure in the Pioneer Valley, coming next month from CISA. The report uses local examples to explore gaps in our current local food system and details the important role of local communities action to create solutions. E-mail us if you would like a pdf of the report sent to you.  

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.   


For a farm-filled Saturday in southern Franklin County, combine a visit to the Warm Colors Apiary Honey Festival and the Whately Historical Society Farm Tour, both Saturday, September 10th and just down the road from each other. The Honey Festival is free and includes lots of bee and honey related information, products, and food (honey ice cream!mead tastings!). 10am-4pm, rain or shine, South Deerfield, more information at www.warmcolorsapiary.com or (413) 665-4513.  After filling up on honey, travel down the street to an exhibit of Whately's early farming history and tours of five Whately farms, including Local Hero members Bear Path Farm, LaSalle Florists, Harvest Farm, and Nourse Farms. 9:30 - 3:00pm; for ticket information ($12 in advance, $15 day of) and full schedule, click here. 


Also on Saturday, September 10th, Robinson Farm celebrates their award-winning organic, raw milk cheeses (Three gold medals and a silver at the Big E!) at Robinson Farm's Open Barn Day, noon to 3 pm. Hayride at noon, tour of milking and cheese-making facility at 1 pm, or taste cheeses and enjoy self-guided tours all afternoon. 

More information and directions 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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