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CISA enters 2013 with much to be grateful for. Thank you for your support in 2012, as tens of thousands of people connected to our farms and the local food system continued to grow. This year, we're launching a celebration of our 20th anniversary, and we want to highlight our appreciation for the many people who made our work possible -- beginning with you!


In 1993, the hard work of a group of Valley residents, farmers, and agriculture supporters became a full-fledged project, then called the Connecticut River Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture. The name soon changed to "Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture" as CISA's success depended on the passionate involvement of a broad group of people who care about food and all of our farms.


For 20 years, we've had tremendous success increasing the number of people in the Pioneer Valley who enjoy locally grown food and farm products every day. In 2013, we're going to celebrate by offering a wide range of opportunities to play, learn and eat together. In the next 20 years, our goal is to double the amount of locally grown food we eat here in the Pioneer Valley!


To kick off our 20th anniversary year, join us to celebrate a week of Winter Fare! We're hosting a slew of workshops, tastings, barter opportunities and music in collaboration with winter farmers' markets in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and Springfield. CISA will match the first $10 of all SNAP (Food Stamp) purchases at these markets, doubling the value of SNAP purchases.


If you haven't visited a winter farmers' market recently, you'll be amazed at the bounty of local food available in the deep of winter! We'll be in Northampton and Springfield on Saturday, January 26th, and in Amherst and Greenfield on Saturday, February 2nd. Can't make these markets? Check out the three other markets in our region that week in Athol, Easthampton, and Hampden. Updates and details on CISA's Winter Fare page.


Phil Korman

Executive Director


Help Us Win $1,000!

Greenfield Savings Bank is celebrating the opening of its new branch in Northampton with a $1,000 donation to five non-profits. Please nominate CISA on Greenfield Savings Bank's Facebook page by Friday, January 11. If we win the $1,000, we will put the monies towards funding access to local food in Northampton through matching of SNAP at the Northampton Winter Market during Winter Fare week and shares of the summer harvest for Northampton low-income elders.


Volunteers needed to help out at Winter Fare celebrations Valley-wide 

CISA needs volunteers on two Saturdays, January 26 (in Springfield & Northampton) and February 2 (in Greenfield & Amherst), to help out at the farmers' markets holding this year's Winter Fare events. Tasks may include greeting attendees, handing out maps and taking surveys. Markets will run from about 10am-2pm. Please email if you would like to get involved.


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.


2013 Local Hero Open Enrollment has begun

Farmers, retailers, restaurants, specialty food producers, institutions and landscapers/garden centers, now is the time to sign up for the Local Hero program and reap the benefits of CISA's flagship program. CISA has been strengthening local agriculture in the Pioneer Valley since 1993, and twenty years later we continue to build support and sales for local farms and food businesses. This year we are excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with the bold goal of doubling the amount of local food in our diets the next 20 years. You can read about the benefits of membership and register online or contact Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 x22 with any questions.  


"Financial Management and Business Decision Making" Workshop Series at CISA

Our popular winter workshop series focuses this year on financial management tools to support business decision making. We offer additional one-on-one support for regular attendees of the series. Find full descriptions and registration information here.


Farms and Food in the News

On our press page, you'll find our review of 2012 for food and farms and a two-part story from the Greenfield Recorder on the growth of local agriculture.


Fiscal Cliff and Farm Bill Fiasco

When they negotiated the fiscal cliff deal, passed by the Senate a couple of hours after the last minute of 2012, a partial extension to the 2008 Farm Bill was thrown into the mix, continuing a long tradition of attaching poor policy to must-pass legislation. The law extends direct commodity payments, although both the Senate and House had agreed in earlier versions of a 2012 Farm Bill to eliminate these subsidies. The extension maintains SNAP funding at current levels and avoided a milk price spike, but eliminates or fails to reliably fund most programs supporting organic farmers, local food, and community development. Some members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees shared the frustration of reform advocates as months of work, compromise and negotiation were ignored. Read more at Grist


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.  


February and April Vacation Farm and Garden Programs offered by the Farm Education Collaborative at the Hampshire College Farm in Amherst.


Winter brings lots of training and learning opportunities for farmers. Visit CISA's events page to see upcoming activities ranging from CISA's business decision-making series to day-long conferences for vegetable and berry growers and organic farmers and gardeners.


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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