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Have you ever wondered what impact your food choices have on the local economy? Some of the benefits of buying local -- delicious fresh food, for example -- are easy to see (and taste!). But other important benefits are harder to quantify and understand. CISA's new Local Food Calculator totals up the economic benefits of your choice to eat more local food. Select a method for eating more local food, and a dollar figure, and the calculator will use national economic data to gauge the impact your choices will have on the local economy and on job creation in our region. This new tool helps us to see how important farm and food businesses are to our regional economy, and the role each of us can play in strengthening our food system. We hope you'll try it out and share it with your friends!



One easy way to eat more local food next week is to turn out for Local Hero Restaurant Days, CISA's annual celebration of restaurants that are putting local food on their tables every day. Read below for more details and for a profile of one participating restaurant, The Gill Tavern.    


Kelly Coleman

Program Director


Have you been dreaming of a week traveling in France's Bordeaux region? Or skiing in Bend, Oregon? How about dinner for eight prepared with local food in a LEED Gold-certified kitchen? These items and many others will be auctioned off at CISA's local harvest dinner and auction, Taste the View, on Thursday, September 19th, at Quonquont Farm in Whately. Less than 100 tickets are left for this year's event, so get your tickets soon to save your seat at the table! More information and tickets here.


Local Hero Restaurant Days, August 20th and 21st 

Come on out to one of the 52 participating Local Hero restaurants next Tuesday or Wednesday to enjoy local specials that highlight the summer bounty! Enjoy a delicious meal, and support the local restaurants that are supporting our local farms. You can see all the participating restaurants and many of their specials here, and when you eat a meal at a participating restaurant during the event, you can enter to win a Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain half share!

Volunteer with CISA at Fun Fall Events! 

Volunteers are needed for our annual harvest dinner and fundraiser, Taste the View, on September 19th, and to represent CISA at Red Fire Farm's fantastic Tomato Festival on August 24th. Interested? Contact Judy.


Farm Stand Bingo, Kids Cooking, and More!

In August, join our Local Hero Challenge for a round of Farm Stand Bingo, to try out new food preservation techniques, visit a Local Hero restaurant, or enter our recipe contest for kids. See all the Challenges here.


Upcoming Workshops for Farmers and Chefs

Producing Meat for Local Restaurants: what cuts work for chefs and how to maintain strong wholesale relationships, with local chefs Daniel Martinez of Bistro Les Gras and Jordan Scott from The Gill Tavern. Monday, August 19th, 6:00-8:30pm, Northampton.

Greenhouse Energy Efficiency, with the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program at Full Bloom Market Garden in Whately, Thursday, August 22nd, 6:30-8:30pm. 


River Valley Market Green Stamps Benefit CISA in September

Bring your own bags or ride your bike to  River Valley Market to get a stamp on your "green stamps card." Turn in your fully-stamped card to make a donation to CISA during the month of September. Thanks, River Valley Market!


CISA Community Members Save 10% on food and drink at Cup and Top

Stop by Cup and Top in downtown Florence to try their delicious soups, sandwiches and baked goods made with ingredients from local farms. Enjoy organic coffee or tea, free Wi-Fi, and an inviting kids' play space. Bring your membership card and try them out! (Not a member? Join here.


Seasonal Recipes and Preserving Tips

Each week, CISA posts delicious cooking and eating ideas from local farms and bloggers on our Valley Bounty page. You'll also find preserving ideas and information about local sourcing. Recent weeks have included tomatoes, fresh beans, and peaches.

Farm Profile: Apex Orchards
Tim Smith's family has owned and operated Apex Farm in Shelburne since 1828. They've enjoyed beautiful views since the beginning, but have shifted their crops and marketing methods over the years. Read more here about the various ways that Apex supplies the local market with apples, peaches, apricots, and more in our profile.

Restaurant Profile: The Gill Tavern

The Gill Tavern is the kind of place where foragers can stop by to share mushrooms they've found, and local farmers and diners trade ideas with the staff about how to present the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season.  

One look at the tavern's "Root to Fruit menu," which is being offered for the start of Local Hero Restaurant Days on Tuesday, August 20th, reveals just how creative and delicious the results can be. Read all about The Gill Tavern here. 


Visit our Press Room for news from local farms. There's an especially broad range of topics this month, including:

  • The pros and cons of organic certification, featuring Red Fire Farm;
  • New York Times coverage of direct public offerings as a way to finance food businesses, including Local Hero member Real Pickles;
  • Great summer eating courtesy of local farms, in your own kitchen or at delicious, on-farm dinners! And lots more.

What You Can Do About Proposed Food Safety Rules that Threaten Local Farms

Your help is needed to shape the FDA's proposed food safety rules! The proposed rules will disproportionately impact small and diverse northeastern farms. All farms need to prioritize food safety practices, but the draft rules lack clarity and often do not fit the size or type of potential risks found on small farms. Although the regulations were created in response to food safety problems in the industrial food system, the regulations may have the unintended effect of increasing costs for small local farms more than for large, industrial farms. It is crucial that farmers and consumers who value the local food system learn about the rules and give their feedback to the FDA. What can you do? Read our suggested talking points and information about how to make comments here. Farmers, especially, are urged to attend a field hearing with FDA officials at Plainville Farm in Hadley on August 22nd.


Using SNAP (food stamps) benefits to support healthy eating

The USDA recently announced preliminary results from the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP), a project designed to test the impact of incentivizing fruit and vegetable purchases for SNAP recipients. Participants received an increase in benefits worth 30% of their fruit and vegetable purchases. The pilot showed that an ongoing investment of less than 15 cents per person per day may result in a 25 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults. Hampden County was the test area, and CISA was involved in bringing this pilot to farmers' markets there.

CISA's Events Page contains a full listing ofworkshops, festivals, forums, films, and more.  

In August, you'll find weed-dating, local foods photography, food preservation, garlic and tomato tasting, and lots, lots more!   

Are you a CISA member? Join more than 600 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  



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