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CISA's 2013 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide is available now, just in time to help you find bedding plants, asparagus, spring greens, farmers' markets, CSAs and much, much more. Look for the Guide in the produce section of local retailers, at farmers' markets and farm stands, and at Chambers of Commerce. Let us know how useful the Guide is to you by taking a short survey, and we'll enter you in a drawing for CISA merchandise, including hats, t-shirts and water bottles!

The Guide also includes profiles of this year's Local Hero Award Winners, Warren Facey of Bree-Z-Knoll Farm in Leyden,Hope & Olive Restaurant in Greenfield, and the Land Trusts of the Pioneer Valley: Franklin Land Trust, Hilltown Land Trust, Kestrel Land Trust, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Pascommuck Conservation Trust, and The Trustees of Reservations. We are grateful to these individuals and organizations for their vision, social responsibility, and shared commitment to strengthening the connection between farmers and the community. Read our profiles of each awardee.

Did you know that our Local Hero campaign is the longest running buy-local campaign in the country? A recent article places our work in a national context; find it here.

The CISA Staff 

May Local Hero Challenge: Farmers' Markets and Asparagus!
Every month, we're posting fun, delicious challenges: no-pain, plenty-of-gain activities that get more local into your life! Have you joined us yet? This month, we challenge you to introduce a friend to your local farmers' market. Help us spread the word about local ag and show a loved one why you love your market! The second challenge of the month is to enjoy some local asparagus and share your favorite recipe with us. Details about each Challenge and how to participate are here.

Local Hero Featured Products for May: Bedding Plants and Preserved Foods
Over the next year, CISA will highlight two local foods or farm products available at local retailers each month. Our goal is to encourage retailers to carry more local products, and to provide them with connections to farmers who can supply wholesale products. This month, we're featuring local bedding plants and preserved foods (like jams, pickles, salsa, dressing, etc.). Please help us make the campaign a success by shopping at your local retail store or garden center and asking for these products.

$150,000 for CISA? Only you can make it possible!
Thanks to several key supporters, CISA has set up a $100,000 Anniversary Fund. But we don't get to use the money unless we raise $50,000 in new dollars. Give to CISA for the first time or increase your giving and CISA will receive TWO DOLLARS for every ONE DOLLAR in new giving! Learn more about how we will use the entire $150,000 and make a contribution here

New CISA Community Membership Cards
CISA is happy to present our community members with their own personalized community membership cards, which will give them special access to benefits and discounts from CISA and our affiliates throughout the year. Current offers are from Red Fire Farm and Yankee Home Improvement. Stay tuned to the e-Newsletter and member mailings in order to learn more. Not a member yet? Join today!

Get involved with local food--volunteer!
Sign up for our Featured Item Action Group and help CISA get more local food into the Valley’s retail stores. Also, on June 22, the Hampshire County Bar Association is organizing a Chili Cook Off to benefit CISA-if you’re interested in volunteering at the event, email Sarah. Check out CISA’s volunteer webpage for more opportunities to get involved.

Recipes and Food Preservation Tips from CISA
Each week, the Daily Hampshire Gazette includes a short column from CISA, featuring a seasonal ingredient available from local farms and retailers. You can read our Valley Bounty column here, along with recipes and preserving tips only available on our website. You'll also find recipes and information indexed by ingredient in the right-hand column. Last week, we wrote about local bedding plants for your garden, and next week we'll feature local jam.

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 33 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 seven other members. In 2013, 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 to the many Representatives that have recognized the value of healthy, locally grown food and thriving farms by supporting these programs! See a full list of CISA's 2014 budget priorities here.
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 the meal prepared by Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School students. CISA staff and representatives from many agricultural organizations met with lawmakers to urge them to support important programs of the Department of Agricultural Resources, such as farmland preservation, as well as the programs mentioned above.

Local Hero Profile: Gooseberry Farms
One of the last remaining farms in West Springfield, Gooseberry Farms stands out in the midst of the urban/suburban neighborhood that surrounds it. The farm stand overflows with an eye-catching array of vegetables, flowering plants and vegetable starts. The Lapinski family has been farming here for four generations now, during which time the local landscape has undergone dramatic change. Read more here. 

Local Hero member Valley Malt has partnered with Next Barn Over Farm and regional grain producers from New York and Maine to create the Northeast Organic Grain and Malt Offering, a selection of organic grains and dry beans available in three pick-ups between June and October. Choose the Homebrew option to receive malt, or the Breakfast option for oats, in addition to flour, wheat berries, dry beans, popcorn, polenta, and sprouted wheat.

Visit our press page for interviews with Lilian Jackman of Wilder Hill Gardens (their annual Mother's Day Spring Dig Sale is this weekend!), a story about farm store expansions at Outlook Farm in Westhampton and Atlas Farm in Deerfield, and much more.

Registration now open for the PVGrows Spring Forum
Local Food for Schools, Hospitals, & Other Institutions is the theme of the PVGrows Spring Forum, on Wednesday, May 22 at UMass Amherst. The Forum will address how we can advance farm-to-institution connections in the Pioneer Valley. Interactive sessions are designed to connect you to people and organizations with farm-to-institution challenges and solutions similar to your own. Also: structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch provided by our Lead Sponsor UMass Dining Services. Learn more at

National Ag Policy: Farm Bill and Food Safety and Modernization Act
House and Senate Agricultural Committee Chairs have announced plans for passing a Farm Bill in 2013. For a summary and analysis, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). The Food and Drug Administration has extended the comment period on the Food Safety and Modernization Act to September 16th, giving farmers and others more time to understand and comment on how this significant overhaul of the farm food safety system would impact local farms. Visit the New England Farmers Union or NSAC websites to find out more.

Visit CISA's events page for a full listing of workshops, festivals, forums, films, and more. Here are just a couple to whet your appetite:

The Williamsburg Farmers' Market (Thursdays, 2-6 pm) opens their season today, May 9th, with a community seed swap.

Gardening the Community's Annual Spring Plant Sale will be held in conjunction with the Springfield Food Policy Council's Gardener's Gathering on May 11th from 9am to 1pm.

CISA joins Pothole Pictures to co-sponsor a showing of Root Hog or Die, a 40-year-old documentary about farmers in Franklin County. May 17th and 18th, 7 pm, Shelburne Falls. Preceded by music on both nights, and followed on Saturday night by a discussion with the director and a panel of local farmers.


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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