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As the sunlight fades and the darkness of night deepens in early winter, what keeps us going is our faith that the light will return and the cycle will begin again. Our farmers keep that faith every time they plant, and we keep that faith when we reach out to all of you, the CISA community.


Last week was a bit tough on CISA as we learned that the Governor's cuts to the state budget included a line item of $200,000 for efforts statewide to promote buying locally from Massachusetts farmers. That will result in a loss to CISA's bottom line of $50,000.


Despite this blow, we are confident and hopeful. Again and again, we have seen the power and impact of our community to support our work. We have learned from our farmers how to respond to unpredictable events. CISA will be creative, entrepreneurial and persistent. We ask you to support our efforts to ensure that our farms not only survive, but thrive, for this generation and the generations to come.


This time of year provides the opportunity for you to connect to what you value most: healthy food, economic security, nature and family. Please give from your heart, recognizing that your gift strengthens our community. We wish for you and your loved ones warmth and light in the New Year!


Phil Korman

Executive Director


Donate Now 

A year-end gift to CISA is a wonderful gift to our entire Pioneer Valley food and farming community! Your contribution helps us connect farms and communities, building a stronger, more vibrant local economy that can feed Valley residents for generations to come. CISA celebrates our 20th anniversary in 2013, and we are grateful for your support and friendship that have sustained our work for 20 years. Help us raise $1,000 a day to reach our Annual Giving goal! Donate now online or send your check to CISA at One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield MA 01373. Thank you so much.


Week of Winter Fare: January 26th-Feburary 2nd     

CISA is gearing up for the special Winter Fare days we are planning in partnership with the regular Winter Farmers' Markets in Greenfield, Northampton, Amherst, and Springfield. We're planning workshops related to seasonal eating and home food preservation, a barter market, and other fun and educational activities. We're also thrilled to spread the word about three new winter farmers' markets that have sprung up in Easthampton, Athol, and Hampden. Stay tuned for more details about Winter Fare and contact Claire Morenon with questions. We're also seeking volunteers to help us pull it off: contact Sarah Stout to sign up.


Seeking Nominations for Local Hero Awards
Do you know someone doing great work for local food and farms? We want to give them an award! Since 2003, CISA has recognized farmers, institutions, businesses, and everyday community members whose work helps sustain local agriculture -- see our all-star recipient list. This year's awardees will be profiled in the Farm Products Guide and will be honored at CISA's annual meeting in 2014. Nominations are due January 15th. You may email your nomination(s), with a brief description of why you think the nominee is qualified and your contact information, to, or mail them to CISA, One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373.


CISA's "Financial Management and Business Decision Making" Workshop Series 

Learn to use financial management tools to support business decision making and implement these skills to evaluate new market opportunities and major investment decisions. Additional one-on-one support is available for those who attend a minimum of three workshops including the first session plus one working group session. Dinner will be served at each session. Cost to Local Hero members is $60 for the series or $12 per workshop. The non-member fee is $75 for the series or $15 per workshop. Find full descriptions and registration information here.


Strength in Numbers: 35 Years at Franklin Community Co-op

"There are more people globally that are members of co-ops than that work for corporations," says Suzette Snow-Cobb, co-manager of Franklin Community Co-op, which operates both Green Fields Market in Greenfield and McCusker's Market in Shelburne. Though you'll be hard-pressed to find an MBA program that gives play to cooperatives, the reality is that co-ops are a global economic force to be reckoned with, as well as a key force for social change. "Basically your value as a member is not based on money," explains Suzette. "That's one of the big differences between co-ops and corporations." Suzette attributes the success and longevity of the Franklin Community Co-op, which turned 35 this year, to its strength in numbers. Now with well over two thousand members, this strength comes both from the power to do together what can't be done alone, and from a climate where all share in both the profit and responsibility of the co-op. Read more here.


Farms and Food in the News

Support your local winter farmers' market! The Republican profiles all six Pioneer Valley winter markets and the Gazette writes about the Easthampton market's new expansion into winter. Find CISA's list of winter market outlets for local farm products.


CISA and WGBY visit Springfield's Farm to Preschool Program in a segment for Connecting Point (this portion of show starts at minute 8:28). Find this and more interviews with Local Hero businesses on our Press Page.


Last Chance for the 2012 Farm Bill

Visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for updates on the lame duck Congress' Farm Bill process, which may bypass the House/Senate Conference Committee and thus include confusing and redundant provisions, avoid substantial reforms, and reduce support for programs supporting local food, beginning and minority farmers, organic production, and rural development.


Diet and Climate Change

A new radio series, produced by Humankind Public Radio and WGBH, explores the links between what we eat, how it is produced, and how it impacts our climate. Segments on school food, urban agriculture, and carbon emissions related to production practices can be heard online. The series recommends eating less meat, but acknowledges that much of the carbon emissions related to meat production are linked to industrial-scale meat operations, not the family farms common in our region.


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


Visiting Turners' Falls this Saturday, perhaps doing some holiday shopping at one of the pop-up shops featuring local arts, crafts, and prepared foods (including salsas from Local Hero member Hedgie's Hot Stuff)? Stop in to the 2nd Street Baking Company for lunch or a treat. They'll donate 10% of the day's proceeds to the Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust's Campaign for Affordable Farms' Red Fire Farm Project, which aims to create a permanently protected and affordable whole farm in Montague. 7 am to 6 pm, 2nd Street Café, 104 Fourth Street, Turners' Falls.


Lots of training and learning opportunities for farmers are offered in the winter months. Visit CISA's events page to see upcoming activities ranging from CISA's business decision-making series to a farmer/brewer conference put on by Local Hero member Valley Malt to a UMass workshop focused on cutting costs in livestock operations.


Are you a CISA member? Join more than 800 others in supporting CISA's work. We've been sustaining local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community since 1993!


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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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

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