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CISA staff members get pretty excited about Thanksgiving, which is, at its core, a celebration of the harvest and of bringing community together around a meal. Check out the "What's in Season Now" section below for info on everything you need for your Thanksgiving table, from the turkey to the pie and potatoes!

This November, we've got another reason to be excited: we're organizing a free panel discussion, to be held on November 19th, called "Our Farms, Our Food: The Future of Local Food in Hampden County." This broad-ranging conversation will feature Elizabeth O'Gilvie of Gardening the Community, Gene Kosinski of Kosinski Farms, Karen Randall of Randall's Farm and Greenhouse, and Margaret Christie of CISA.

A region with rural farmland, changing suburban landscapes, and vibrant urban agriculture projects, Hampden County offers unique challenges and opportunities for farmers and for consumers interested in local food. Speakers represent a range of vantage points on the role of local agriculture within the diverse communities of Hampden County, and on the steps that must be taken to keep farms vibrant, and to ensure that locally grown food is accessible to all members of the community.

The panel will be held at 6:30pm at the Holyoke Senior Center on November 19th, and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP is requested by November 17th. We hope you can join us!

Claire Morenon
Program Cordinator 

Support CISA!
During this last quarter of the year, CISA is delivering farmer workshops, educating the community about where to buy local in the winter, and developing programs for 2015. We also need to raise $100,000 over the next 10 weeks to keep the work going and so we turn to you to make it possible for CISA to support our farmers and to build the local food economy. Join with the hundreds of other community supporters who will make a donation to CISA this year and help fund our important work. To donate now, click here.

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 our print farm products guide, Locally Grown, and will be honored at CISA's annual meeting in 2016. Nominations are due December 12th. See criteria and nomination form here.

Valley Gives
CISA is participating in Valley Gives, a Valley-wide day of fundraising, on 12/10/14. We're joining with hundreds of other non-profits for this special effort, so think of us when you make your donations!

Upcoming workshops for farmers and food businesses
We are planning a full winter of workshops and networking opportunities for farmers and local food businesses! On November 19th, farmers are invited to an information session on the new Legal Services Food Hub. CISA's December 8th Meet and Greet offers opportunities for Local Hero farmers and food business owners and purchasers to network and build relationships, and our winter-long workshop series, beginning January 28th, will focus on marketing for farm businesses. Find out about additional workshops and more details here.

CISA awarded funding from Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) recently awarded $300,000 in funding to seven "buy-local" organizations across the state. We're glad to be part of this great group of organizations promoting local agriculture, and grateful to be in a state that supports these efforts! Many thanks to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Thanksgiving! We've got special lists to help you find your Thanksgiving turkey and pies, plus a searchable database that makes it easy to find your potatoes, Brussels sprouts, squash, greens, local wines, and everything else you need to round out your meal!

Summer markets and CSAs are winding down over the next couple of weeks and winter markets and CSAs are opening their doors. Stay abreast of this seasonal shift with details about winter CSAs, farmers' markets, and bulk purchasing of storage veggies here.

We're also looking ahead to December with a list of local farms and retailers that will have local Christmas trees.

Check out our weekly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Valley Bounty, for recent articles focused on recipes and cooking tips for turkey, Brussels sprouts, ground pork, cauliflower, and other seasonal delights.
Photo by Paul Shoul 
Local Hero Awardee Profile: Maple Corner Farm

Maple Corner Farm in Granville has been in the Ripley family for more than 200 years, and today it is thriving due to the family's willingness to change with the times. The Ripleys invite the public onto the farm throughout the year, for pick-your-own blueberries in the summer, to enjoy groomed cross-country skiing trails during the winter, and to their sugar shack for maple syrup and pancakes in very early spring. Maple Corner Farm is one of CISA's 2014 Local Hero Awardees; read all about them!

Visit our Press Room for a great review of The Alvah Stone in Montague, a neat story about Mountain View Farm owner Ben Perrault's extracurricular activities (paragliding!), and lots and lots of stories about apple cider, hard and sweet. Also featured is an opinion piece from CISA's own Phil Korman and Margaret Christie in honor of Food Day, and a special WGBY CISA segment on Farm to Table efforts in Hampden County, featuring E. Cecchi Farm and Lattitude Restaurant.

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses: Malinowski Farm, New Salem Preserves, Baystate Medical Center, and Pioneer Valley Vinegar Works. 

Agriculture in the Midterms

Here's a couple of round-ups of how the election results might impact food and agriculture. Civil Eats reviews the results of several key races, and Mother Jones summarizes ballot measures related to sugary drinks and the growing and labeling of GMO crops. The likely new chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Pat Roberts of Kansas, said this week that he will not reopen the Farm Bill, reassuring farmers, colleagues, and advocates who feared that the contentious Farm Bill process, finally completed early this year, might be re-visited long before the current law expires in 2018.


Sad news about founding member of CISA, Jim Pitts
CISA was saddened to learn of the death of Jim Pitts, one of our early board members. Much of the initial strategizing for our work to encourage consumers to "buy local" was done by CISA's Marketing Action Group in the meeting room at Jim's Delta Organic Farm in Amherst.
Visit CISA's events page for festivals, film screenings, workshops, and more. Here's a sample of the activities coming up around the Valley:

Turnip the Beet!

Saturday, November 15, 8-11:30pm, Williamsburg Grange Hall
2nd annual dance party to benefit Grow Food Northampton's Food Access Program! Details here.

Photo by Jason Threlfall
Our Farms, Our Food: the Future of Local Food in Hampden County

Wednesday, November 19, 6:30-8pm, Holyoke Senior Center
A broad-ranging panel discussion on the future of local agriculture and the local food movement in Hampden County. Find more details and RSVP here by November 17th. Co-sponsored by our hosts, the Holyoke Senior Center. Contact Claire Morenon at 413-665-7100, ext. 16 with any questions.

Hilltown Seed Saving Network's Third Annual Fall Seed Exchange
November 22, 1-5pm
Learn to save your own garden seed, get answers to your seed saving questions, and exchange seed that you've saved with your friends and neighbors. You don't have to bring seed to come to this event! Find more details here

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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