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We are filled with gratitude as CISA's 20th year draws to a close. We're thankful that we can fill our tables with the bounty of the Pioneer Valley, and grateful for the hard work of the farmers and other businesspeople who make that possible. We're grateful, as well, for the work of colleagues at other organizations, whose efforts connect schoolchildren to local food, bring gardens to neighborhoods, secure land for farmers, and so much more. 


We're also grateful to you. Whether you are among the 10,000 families who purchase Pioneer Valley grown CSA shares; the 800 people who signed our petition to the Food and Drug Administration regarding their proposed food safety regulations; or the hundreds of Pioneer Valley business owners and employees that source or serve locally grown farm products, we thank you. Perhaps, this year, you took up our Local Hero challenge, attended a CISA-sponsored film, workshop, or farm tour, or joined more than 1,000 people in supporting our work with your time or your money. Thank you for your part in making this a community that sustains agriculture.





The CISA Staff

Eat Up and Take Action! 

Filling your family's table with food from local farms is a delicious way to support farm businesses in your community. But you can do more to support a vibrant local food economy! CISA's new publication, Eat Up and Take Action for Local Food, provides resources and encouragement to bring your love of local to your workplace, your volunteer activities, and your friends and family. Get inspired, and take action!


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 here. Awardees will be profiled in Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide and will be honored at CISA's annual meeting in 2015. Nominations are due January 10th. See criteria here. You may email your nomination(s), with a brief description of why you think the nominee is qualified and your contact information to Jennifer, or mail them to CISA, One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373.


Supporting CISA's work

2013 will soon be coming to an end, as will our 20th Anniversary year - now would be a great time to give in honor of CISA's 20 years! Every new dollar or increased amount of giving will be TRIPLED thanks to the generous donors who set up the Anniversary Fund. Please remember CISA today with an online gift or send your check to CISA at One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield MA 01373. Thank you! And don't forget CISA merchandise for your stocking stuffers. We have water bottles, T-shirts, notecards, cookbooks and hats available online or at our office in South Deerfield. 

CISA Community Membership Perks

Become a CISA Community Member during the holidays and receive discounts on locally made gifts and get $5 off a locally grown tree (at participating Local Hero farms)! 


Look for Onions and Kale at Local Retailers   

Each month, CISA highlights two crops and works with local retailers and farmers to ensure that those crops are available in grocery stores. For December, we're focusing on onions and kale. Find our list of participating retailers here. If you don't see local products in the store, ask! Join our Action Group to get more involved in advocating for local food in grocery stores.




Buying Lists

We've done the work for you to find locally grown products for seasonal merrymaking! Consult our list of local Christmas tree farms and our guide to local gift-giving.

Looking for Recipes for Seasonal Ingredients for your Holiday Feast? 

CISA's recipe page is full of good ideas. Also check out some of the local farms and bloggers CISA staff follow for inspiration here.

Local Hero Profile: Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm

When Emmet and Cecilia Van Driesche took over operation of Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm from the farm's original owners, they became caretakers of not only the business and the land, but of dozens of family holiday traditions and an unusual method of cultivating trees using "stump culture," allowing them to regrow from the stump. Read more about the Ashfield farm here.


Visit our Press Room for articles about the recycling award received by Local Hero member Mike Superson of The Big E in Easthampton, the opening of All Things Local Market in Amherst, and long-time CISA board member and farmer Warren Facey's nomination for a state-wide award and more.


Pioneer Valley Grown Gets to Boston

The Pioneer Valley is a logical source of food for Boston residents and businesses interested in eating locally or just in finding fresh, healthy food. Boston buyers are an important market for many Pioneer Valley farmers. But getting farm products from here to there is often inefficient and costly. Two businesses are offering new options for connecting Pioneer Valley farmers and Boston-area residents. Valley Green Feast, a worker-owned cooperative that has delivered local produce and prepared foods in the Pioneer Valley since 2007, will bring farm and food products to Boston residents in partnership with Boston Collective Delivery (BCD). Valley Green Feast has an on-line ordering system, and they will receive products from farms and businesses, pack orders, and deliver to BCD, which delivers to homes and businesses by bicycle. They're running an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money to get the new venture off the ground. LocalCycle, a Williamstown-based start-up, has also begun providing delivery service from the Pioneer Valley to Boston, making it easier for local growers to reach Boston restaurants and retailers.


Uprisings: A Hands-On Guide to the Community Grain Revolution

Growth in local grain production and use in the Pioneer Valley has been marked by creative and commited partnerships between growers, bakers, malters, and supporters. A new book chronicles that growth across the country, including coverage of several Local Hero members and their ground-breaking work right here. Find our full review here.


Planning for Food Systems in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Food Policy Council has chosen the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to design and coordinate a statewide food systems planning process in Massachusetts. MAPC will be working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and the Massachusetts Workforce Alliance, giving western Massachusetts a strong voice in the process.


Farm Bill News

Federal Farm Bill negotiations continue, although no vote will occur before January. Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern is one of a small group of House and Senate members negotiating significant details, offering Massachusetts residents an important opportunity to speak up. Read about the Massachusetts Farm to School Project's concern about a potential change in the definition of fresh produce here, a broader overview from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition here, and contact McGovern at 202-225-6101 (Washingon D.C. office), 413-341-8700 (Northampton office), or through policy staffer Keith Stern.

Winter is a good time to build farming, gardening, and related skills. Check CISA's Events Page for information about the Northeast Organic Farming Association's Winter Conference, a January Seed School at Hampshire College, and much more.


CISA is looking for winter and spring semester interns. There are more job and internship postings on our classifieds page.

Do you value the news you get from CISA? 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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