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Every week, I am lucky enough to bring a farmer, or a business that sources from local farms, onto local radio station WRSI to be interviewed by Monte Belmonte. We get together at Sylvester's before heading to the radio station so I can learn more about their business and help them figure out what they would like to share in the radio interview.  


These conversations are a highlight of my week. I get to hear directly from farmers about what is wonderful (and what is challenging) about their work in the current moment. One week, I met with the owner of a fruit farm that had just opened a winery and needed help with the launch. We generated some ideas for promotion, and I provided some connections. Another local business needed to move its product into more stores. I put them in touch with CISA's Local Hero Coordinator, Devon Whitney-Deal, who helped them establish accounts with a corner store and a supermarket. I see our farmers commit daily to growing our food, stewarding our land, and serving our communities, and I find that these small glimpses of their work and dedication renew my spirit.


Watching WGBY's new film about agriculture in the Pioneer Valley, A Long Row in Fertile Ground, I realized that this film may give people a taste of what I experience every week before my radio interviews. The film includes interviews with a wide range of farmers, young and old, new to farming or from families that have farmed for generations. Each one conveys the importance of caring for the soil and the benefits of good food. I was reminded that I call this Valley home, in large part, because of our farms and the commitment we all show to sustain local agriculture.


If you haven't had a chance to see the film, I hope you'll join WGBY and CISA for a screening at the Academy of Music in Northampton on October 19th from 4-6 pm. The film will be followed by a panel of farmers, CISA staffer Margaret Christie, and WGBY film producer Dave Fraser. We'd love to see you there.


Philip Korman
Executive Director 


Heartfelt thanks for a fabulous Taste the View
Rob Watson of The Lone Wolf with Kurt Heidinger at Taste The View
Many thanks from CISA to all who made our fall harvest dinner and fundraising event, Taste the View, a great success! Over 60 Local Hero farms and food businesses contributed ingredients, flowers, beverages, auction items, and support for a wonderful evening celebrating local food. Thanks to our volunteers and The Lone Wolf of Amherst for serving a great meal, Soulful Life Photography, Botkin & Broll for live music, our auctioneer George Thomas Lewis, and the generosity of all who attended. It was a true testament to the support CISA feels for our mission of strengthening farms and engaging the community to build the local food economy. Join the fun next year at Quonquont Farm in Whately on Friday, September 18, 2015.

CISA and River Valley Market Team Up

CISA is River Valley Market's Green Stamp designee for the month of October. Shoppers receive a green stamp on a card every time they use a reusable shopping bag or ride a bike to the store, and ten stamps = $1. You can donate your filled cards to CISA or make a cash donation at the register. Do your fall harvest shopping at River Valley Market in October and help River Valley Market and CISA further their missions to build the local food economy!

Whole Farm Planning application deadline: October 17
Holistic Management International's Whole Farm Planning program is an opportunity for women who have been farming for under ten years to gain skills and build a network of other women farmers. This is a 10-workshop series beginning in December 2014 with seven one-day sessions held in winter and three on-farm field sessions in spring. Find out more about the program, download an application from our website, or contact Devon for more information.

Getting into a school lunch rut? We went on MassAppeal with CISA friend Deanna Cook to showcase some fun school lunch ideas.

We've got recipes and food preservation tips for pears, celery, and pumpkin seeds in  Valley Bounty, as we begin the move into sweet fall crops.

Not sure where to find it all? We can help! Search our online database or download our app to find a particular food or farm product, look for the farm stand or farmers' market closest to you, and discover which restaurants, retailers, and other businesses are doing a great job supporting local farms.  

Local Hero Profile: Mount Warner Vineyards

Photo courtesy of Mount Warner Vineyards

Gary and Bobbie Kamen have turned a love of wine into a love of winemaking at Mount Warner Vineyard in Hadley. Read all about how they've chosen  grapes uniquely  suited to our climate to produce uniquely delicious wines, and started a line of honey and beeswax products to boot!  


Visit our Press Room to read about the praise heaped upon Springfield's Farmers' Market at Forest Park by the state Commissioner of Transitional Assistance. You'll also find a story about the new anaerobic digester that is converting manure into fertilizer and electricity at Barstow's Longview Farm in Hadley, and many more ag updates.


You can listen to our weekly interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses: The Lone Wolf, Dancing Bear Farm, Deepening Roots Farm, Clark Brothers Orchard and more!

FDA opens revised food safety rules for public comment

Attendees of the 2013 FSMA listening session at Plainville Farm in Hadley

The FDA has issued revised rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and last week the agency invited a new round of public comments. Revisions were made as a response to extensive public comment campaigns led by CISA and many other stakeholder organizations last November. The original rules, issued in 2013, contained highly problematic provisions that we believe would have disproportionately harmed the small farms in Western Massachusetts, driving some local farms out of business and reducing access to local food. The revised rules are responsive to many of the concerns raised by CISA and other stakeholders, but more public input will be needed this fall during the 75-day comment period to preserve the positive changes in the revised rules, and to push for further improvements. CISA submitted extensive comments last November, along with many of you, and we plan to submit additional comments later this fall. Stay tuned for more information, and in the meantime we encourage you to read the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's preliminary response to the rules, and to read more about the FDA's specific changes to the produce rule and the preventive controls rule.


Food Day 2014

Food Day, scheduled for October 24th, is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. In 2013, there were more than 4,700 events throughout the country. To learn about planning an event of your own or to find something happening near you, visit


October is Farm to School Month!

Schools around the country are celebrating the local food served in their cafeterias, the gardens in their schoolyards and the food and agriculture education happening in their classrooms this month. The Massachusetts Farm to School Project is celebrating all month long too, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for Farm to School news from around the state.  

Visit CISA's events page  for festivals, film screenings, workshops, and more. Here's a sample of the activities coming up around the Valley:


Film Screening: A Long Row in Fertile Ground

October 19, 4pm-6pm

Academy of Music, Northampton

This 40-minute original WGBY production tells the story of agriculture in the Connecticut River Valley. Interviews with a number of farmers, land preservationists and agricultural scholars from Deerfield to Great Barrington provide a comprehensive view of this treasured resource and illuminate the complex story of the land, its people, its culture, and its agriculture. This film screening is free, and will be followed by a panel discussion.  


Kestrel Land Trust 5K for Farmland
October 19, 11am-5pm
Hadley Town Common

Join Kestrel Land Trust's 6th annual 5K run or 2M walk from the Hadley Common through historic farmland on a flat, fast scenic course. Chip Timed 5K! All proceeds from the race help the Kestrel Land Trust preserve local farmland. Commemorative 5K for Farmland pint glasses for first 300 registrants. Run, walk, or shop for the Kestrel Land Trust: after the race, there will be a farmers' market festival with a local beer garden and live music! Fresh salad greens, crunchy fall apples, grass fed lamb, sweet carrots, farm baked pies, and more!  Click here for more information and to register.

Fall Food Swap
November 8, 3-4:30pm
Lilly Library, Florence

Bring your homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods and swap them with your neighbors!
Valley Food Swap coordinates these swaps as opportunities for members of the local food community to meet each other, sample new foods, and share their own food knowledge and wisdom with others. This event is free and open to the public, but you must rsvp. Click here for details.

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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