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Welcome to Winter Fare season!

Apex Orchards at the Amherst Winter Farmers' Market
Each winter, CISA partners with the winter farmers' markets in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and Springfield to highlight the bounty of local food available in the deep of winter with special days full of workshops, food swapping, music, and fun!

CISA's SNAP & Save program is matching SNAP/Food Stamps up to $5 at markets all winter long, and that match increases to $10 during Winter Fare. Spread the word!

Join us on these dates (and don't forget, the markets run all winter! Find all their details here):

Winter Fare at the Northampton Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, January 16, 9am-2pm (that's THIS Saturday!!)
Smith Vocational High School, 80 Locust St

Winter Fare at the Farmers' Market at Forest Park
Saturday, January 23, 10am-2pm
The Old Monkey House in Forest Park, Springfield

Winter Fare at the Amherst Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, January 30, 10am-2pm
Amherst Middle School

Winter Fare at the Greenfield Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, February 6, 10am-1pm
Greenfield High School (note location change!)

Winter Fare events are free, open to the public, and wonderful! Find full workshop schedules and details.

We're still looking for volunteers to help us pull these events off! Contact Brian at 413-665-7100, ext. 15, for details or to help.
The CISA staff
Local Hero enrollment now open
Farmers, retailers, restaurants, institutions, specialty producers, and garden centers/landscapers, this is the time to sign up for CISA's flagship program! Find full details about Local Hero member benefits and online enrollment forms on CISA's website. Enroll by February 1st to receive a $25 discount on your membership! Contact Devon Whitney-Deal (Franklin/Hampshire County businesses) or Kristen Wilmer (Hampden County businesses) at 413-665-7100 with questions.   
Thank you for your support in 2015!
Did you know that over 1/3 of CISA's funding comes from individuals? We are so grateful to have so many of you believing in and supporting our mission! 
Goodbye, Judy
Judy Hall, our development coordinator extraordinaire, has decided to start up her own consulting business focused on rural development - we already miss her and wish her the best of luck in her new pursuit!   

CISA Wishlist
We're on the lookout for a few gently-used items for use in our office (like a picnic table, standing desk, bicycle rack ...). Please take a look at our little wishlist, and get in touch if you've got any of these items to offer. Such gifts are considered in-kind donations and are eligible for tax deductions.

Winter workshops for Farmers: Reducing Risk and Increasing Profitability with Sound Decision Making
Each winter, we offer a series of workshops designed to help farmers and small business owners strengthen their business practices. This winter's series focuses on financial planning and skill-building. Find the full schedule and details about each class here.   
Red Fire Farm at the
Northampton Winter Farmers' Market
We're talking a lot about the special Winter Fare days at the farmers' markets, but don't forget that those markets run all winter long! Find market details here.

Looking for wintertime cooking inspiration? We explore a different seasonal food each week in Valley Bounty, our column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Take a look at recent pieces on popcorn, winter squash, kale, and more!

Final Massachusetts Food System Plan released
After an extensive process, the final version of the Massachusetts Food System Plan has been released! The plan aims to increase production of Massachusetts grown food, create jobs and economic opportunity in food and farming, protect the land and water needed to produce food, and reduce hunger and food insecurity. You can find the full plan online, as well as a summary.

Grinspoon Foundation and Big Y offer $100,000 in grants to farmers
For the second year, The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Big Y, is offering $100,000 in grants as part of their Local Farm Awards program. Farms that are members of CISA or Berkshire Grown with annual gross sales of $10,000 or more can apply for a grant of up to $2,500 for equipment and/or physical improvements to their farm. More information and applications can be found on the Grinspoon Foundation website. Applications are due by Jan 31st.

Congress repeals meat labeling law
Earlier this month, Congress voted to repeal a law that required retailers to label the country of origin on packages of red meat. The decision came after repeated rulings against the US law by the World Trade Organization, which also authorized Canada and Mexico to begin more than $1 billion dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the US over country of origin labeling. This loss of transparency underscores the importance of knowing and trusting your farmer or the retailer that supplies your meat. More information on the Congressional decision can be found here.
Visit our press room for recent news stories, including a a few different takes on the future of local food coops, coverage of a new grant partnership between CISA, Greenfield Community College, and Franklin Community Coop, and a special CISA segment on WGBY's Connecting Point that follows a winter squash from the farm to the produce aisle.

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses. Featured this month: Serio's Market, D&R Farms, Stoneman Brewery, Cooper's Corner, and Northwoods Forest Products.

Photo courtesy of Maple Valley Creamery
Local Hero Profile: Maple Valley Creamery
Laurie Cuevas and Bruce Jenks of Maple Valley Creamery in Hadley are busy people! They churn out 28 flavors of their super-premium, local-and-proud-of-it ice cream, mentor the next generation through 4-H and the UMass Food Science program, and are working to open a store on their farm. And that's only the start -- read all about them!
CISA's events page is constantly updated with farm tours, field days, festivals, and more! Here are a few upcoming highlights:

Winter Fare at Winter Farmers' Markets
Join CISA at winter farmers' markets throughout in Northampton, Springfield, Amherst, and Greenfield this season for special Winter Fare days! A full day of free workshops, activities for kids, Food Swaps, and more, plus the amazing range of great local food and crafts that await you weekly at these markets. Plus, we'll be doubling our usual SNAP & Save match to $10 at Winter Fare. Come on out and bring a friend! You can find more information about Winter Fare on our website.

NOFA/Mass Winter Conference
Saturday, January 16th
Worcester State University
The Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) invites you to their 29th Annual Winter Conference - with 70 workshops on topics like crop production, farm management, health, homesteading, livestock, beekeeping, policy, skill building, infrastructure, soil, urban/backyard gardening, organic land care, and more. More information and registration is available on the NOFA/Mass website.

Little Brook Farm Camp during school vacation week
February 15-19, 9am-3pm
Little Brook Farm, Sunderland
Little Brook Farm Camp takes place on a small family farm in Sunderland and serves children aged 6-12. Children at camp will have the opportunity to learn about livestock and sustainable agriculture in a hands on program. Camp fees are $250/week and camp is limited to 12 campers, so sign up early! Call Kristen Whittle at 413-665-3802
or email to sign up or to be added to the mailing list. More details here.

Do you value the news you get from CISA? Join 1,100 others in supporting CISA's work. We've been strengthening farms and engaging the community to build the local food economy since 1993!


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