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This fall, supporting local farms and food requires more than baking pumpkin pies and picking apples. Comments on proposed food safety regulations are due by November 15th, and your participation matters! 


The FDA's own economic analysis indicates that these rules would impose untenably high costs on small and mid-sized growers, threatening the continued viability of the small, diversified farms typical of the Pioneer Valley. The rules give an unfair advantage to large, national producers, which are better equipped to absorb the high costs of compliance. Some small farms will be driven out of business, while others will have to consolidate into larger operations to remain viable. Increasing our reliance on the industrial food system will not improve food safety and could threaten our vibrant local food system.


Letters to the FDA are the most effective way to impact the outcome. Find talking points, sample letters, and lots more information here. Although letters carry more weight, we encourage you also to sign our petition


Once you've written a letter, we hope you enjoy all of the seasonal pleasures of New England farms, this fall and for many seasons to come.  Thanks for your help.



The CISA Staff


More Than Honey Film and Local Hero Panel

Explore the mysterious, 15-year decline of honeybee colonies around the world. Join CISA on October 15th at 7:00pm for a special showing of the film, More Than Honey, co-presentewith Amherst Cinema (28 Amity Street). Following the film there will be a panel question and answer session with Local Hero farmers Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary and Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms. Read more about the film, presenters, and buy your tickets here.  


CISA Day at Clarkdale Fruit Farms 

It has been a record year for apples in Western Mass! Visit Clarkdale on Sunday, October 20th, between 11:00am and 1:00pm to meet CISA staff and learn ways to preserve apples, including drying them in a solar oven. We'll share our recipes and a food preservation handout. Bring a picnic, pick your own apples, drink some pear cider and sample apple varieties such as Braeburn, Esopus Spitzenburg, Goldrush, Roxbury Russet and Suncrisp.


Root, Hog or Die Film Showing

Join CISA, WGBY, and local land trusts on Sunday, November 3rd at 4:00pm at the Academy of Music for a showing of a recently remastered classic 1973 film documenting the lives of local farmers of yesteryear. Following the film is a panel discussion with present-day farmers Cliff Hatch of Upinngil Farm (Gill), David Fisher of Natural Roots (Conway), Chip Hager of Hager's Farm (Shelburne), and Sarah Voiland of Red Fire Farm (Montague & Granby), as well as CISA staffer Margaret Christie. Purchase tickets here or at the Academy of Music box office.


Save the Date for CISA's Taste the View 2014

Many thanks from CISA to all who made our fall harvest dinner and fundraising event, Taste the View, a great success! We are already planning next year's event, which will take place at Quonquont Farm in Whately on Friday, September 19, 2014.

Valley Bounty

One of the best things about early fall is the mix for summer and fall flavors. If you're looking for inspiration about what to do with this season's harvest, check CISA's Valley Bounty, which features delicious cooking, eating, and preserving ideas from local farms and bloggers. Recent topics include sweet corn, garlic, and plums.


October Local Hero Challenge: Connect with Farmers

Of course, local farmers are another great source of recipes and preserving tips. More and more local farms have fun and interesting newsletters, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and blogs. Farmers are putting time and energy into explaining the challenges and successes on their farms, and you can learn a lot about how food is grown and how it gets to market here in the Pioneer Valley. Check out CISA's Local Hero Challenge page for ideas on how to find farms online and a chance to win a local treat!


Visit a Farm! 

Farms around the Valley open their doors in the fall for all kinds of festive and delicious activities! We've got all the info you need to plan a perfect day on the farm visiting a local corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayride, or picking your own apples here


Look for Pumpkins and Cabbages 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. In October, look for locally grown cabbages and pumpkins at these participating retailers. If you don't see them, ask! If you want to get more involved in advocating for local food in grocery stores, join our Action Group.
Visit our Press Room for news of local farms and food. Read about renewable and energy-efficiency projects on local farms, the apple harvest, or listen to interviews with local foods businesses including Austin Brothers Valley Farm, Foster's Supermarket, and Quontquont Farm.


Malinowski Farm: Pumpkin Wonderland
Ed Malinowski Jr., of Malinowski Farms in North Hatfield, 
describes his pumpkins as "house broken, fire proof, water resistant, gluten, sugar, and trans fat-free, and equipped with child-proof stems." He's known, too, for his extravagant pumpkin lawn displays, which in past years have included a submarine made of pumpkins and a whole baseball team with pumpkin heads. Read more about Ed, who's been growing pumpkins since he was 14, here.

The Farm Bill

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has launched a series of articles that explain the goals of "stranded" farm bill programs, which have not been funded since Congress failed to pass a new five year Farm Bill a year ago. "These stranded programs impact over half of the agricultural sector, including fruit and vegetable, organic, renewable energy, livestock, minority, and beginning farmers, and invest in sustainable food systems, rural job creation, and the next generation of farmers." 

CISA's Events Page contains a full listing of workshops, festivals, forums, films, and more.  Coming up you'll find opportunities to learn about planting garlic, to sample local beers and hard ciders, to enjoy delicious on-farm dinners, and much more!


Also check out opportunities in Greenfield to attend discussions and letter writing events focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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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