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Finding locally grown food here in the Valley is getting easier and easier, with 49 farmers' markets (many opening up this month!), 57 CSAs, home and workplace delivery, and retailers serving up a bounty of locally grown. If you are not eating locally in May, you are missing out!


CISA's new Guide to Choosing a CSA introduces the many products, delivery, payment and share selection options offered by our local CSAs, which grow vegetables, fruit, meat, grain, medicinal herbs, milk, flowers, and more! You'll also find useful lists of CSAs by category, including those offering home delivery and distribution in Hampden County. Use our farmers' market list to find market locations, hours, and opening days (add your own zip code at the bottom to sort by distance from you).


Once you've figured out all of the ways to make local eating a regular part of your schedule this summer, start eating! Asparagus, new radishes, rhubarb, fresh eggs, cheese and yogurt from animals eating new spring grass, greenhouse cukes, salad greens, green garlic, and lots, lots more available now. Enjoy!


The CISA Staff



CISA logo and tagLocally Grown: Farm Products Guide Coming Soon!

Locally Grown, CISA's annual print Farm Products Guide, will land in local newspapers, farm stands, and retail outlets mid-month. CISA's Guide grows bigger every year, as the availability of local food grows and the demand continues to skyrocket. This year the Guide includes a new agritourism section funded by the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council, with delicious itineraries for farms, festivals and restaurant visits in every season. In addition, the Guide lists farms, restaurants, retailers, farmers' markets, institutions, landscape and garden centers, and specialty foods producers using locally grown ingredients. Look for it!


State-wide Buy Local Programs Pass First Budget Hurdle

Two amendments providing important support for local foods programs were included in the House budget passed in April. Representative Chris Markey (D-Dartmouth) championed an amendment, co-sponsored by 34 Representatives, providing funding to seven "Buy Local" organizations across the state. Funding for CISA's Senior FarmShare program was included in an amendment introduced by Chairwoman Anne Gobi and eight other members. In 2012, this program will provide more than 350 low-income seniors with farm shares; if this funding is maintained through the whole budget process, we'll be able to do that again next year. We are now looking towards the Senate and we're hopeful that these programs will be included in the Senate budget and signed into law by the Governor this summer. We are grateful that so many Representatives recognize the value of healthy, locally grown food and thriving farms!  


One way that we helped our legislators appreciate the good food grown here was by feeding them on Agriculture Day at the State House. Many farms contributed food for that meal, including Hungry Ghost Bread, Little Brook Farm and Tanstaafl Farm, who were inadvertently left off our list last month.

The worker-owners of Valley Green Feast deliver locally grown food to homes and businesses from Shelburne Falls to Suffield, Connecticut. In a new video, they explain their commitment to local farms and local food for all.


Fiber producers are busy with lambing, getting animals out on pasture, and lots more, but still found time to share what they do with the public. Visit Sojourner Design's blog to read about their first Pygora kid, and watch Cranberry Moon farmer Lisa Westervelt explain the sheep to shawl process.


Congratulations to Hungry Ghost Bread, whose potato thyme fougasse loaf was named one of Saveur's Magazines "Loaves We Love." 


CISA's Phil Korman and WGBY explored local meat in April, visiting Wheel-View Farm, Green Fields Market, and The People's Pint. See the story here.


Visit our press page for a couple of stories about the impact of this spring's alternating heat waves and cold nights on local farms. You'll also find audio interviews with two local farmers' market managers and the Black Sheep Deli's Nick Seamon.


Pioneer Valley Gleaning Call for Volunteers

Gleaners collect leftover food from farms and donate it to local food pantries, soup kitchens, or other organizations serving those in need. Rachel's Table Gleaning Project coordinator Jessica Harwood maintains a list of adults and children willing to volunteer for gleaning activities. Add your name to the list to receive emails with details of volunteer gleaning opportunities throughout the season, and opt in to harvest and then drop off the gleanings at a food service agency when you are able. Sometimes, farmers call to offer a field for gleaning shortly before they need to plow it under, so turnaround can be short; other times, gleaners receive more notice in advance. If you would like to add your name to the volunteer gleaners list, email Jessica at


2012 Farm Bill Update

The 2012 Farm Bill is currently being marked up by the Senate Agriculture Committee. There's a short turnaround for comments at this stage. For more on the Farm Bill's potential impact on agriculture in the Northeast, visit the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group's 2012 Farm Bill Page.  


USDA Farm to School Grant Applications Due June 15

Find more information on these planning and implementation grants, visit the USDA's Farm to School page.


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Local Hero farmer Allison Lansdale from The Bars Farm, CISA staffer Margaret Christie, and other members of the UMass Vegetable eIPM Advisory Committee.

Invasive Species Smartphone App

A new app developed by the University of Massachusetts' Center for Public Policy and Administration and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation allows smartphone and digital camera users to help Massachusetts scientists locate invasive species. UMass Vegetable Integrated Pest Management program staff are monitoring newly arriving invasive species with the potential to impact agriculture, including Spotted Wing Drosophila and the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug .


As the growing season gets going, the number of food and farm events increases! We include a couple of teasers here, but urge you to visit CISA's events calendar for a full listing of forums, festivals, films, and much more.


Two local farms celebrate Mother's Day this weekend. On Saturday, May 12th, Red Fire Farm's Spring Fling in Montague includes wagon and walking farm tours, open greenhouse plant sales, afternoon tea (tickets required!), and a chance to learn about the farm's Whole Farm Affordability Campaign, created in partnership with Mount Grace Conservation Trust. On Sunday, head to Heath for BLOOM!, a springtime gala to celebrate pollination. You'll find music, lunch, theater, and bee information; the suggested donation will help The Benson Place create a pollinator sanctuary.


Healthy Eating, Healthy Communities , a school food and community forum, offers free workshops for teachers, parents, food service, and school communities on May 31 from 3:30-6:00pm at Jackson Street School in Northampton and June 6 from 3:30-6:00pm at The Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg. Sponsored by Fertile Ground, The Williamsburg and Jackson Street Schools and Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

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