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To ensure that more people have access to local food, we're launching a new fundraising campaign called Local Food for All.

Local Food for All will support two goals:
  • Expanding the number of farmers' markets in the Valley accepting SNAP (food stamps) and providing these markets with the resources to match up to $10 in SNAP purchasing through our SNAP & Save program.
  • Increasing our Senior FarmShare program to 450 recipients. CISA currently subsidizes summer CSAs for 400 low-income seniors, providing them with 10 weeks of local, healthy produce.
These win-win programs can help thousands of low-income households that receive SNAP and hundreds of low-income seniors access fresh, local food, while simultaneously enabling farmers to sell their food to more members of our community.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 by April, allowing us to significantly expand the reach of SNAP & Save and Senior FarmShare.
CISA supporters have committed $50,000 already, including an amazing $10,000 gift from People's Bank, and are challenging the community to raise the remaining $50,000. Please join your neighbors in supporting Local Food for All.

Thank you for your support,
Alexis Breiteneicher Schneeflock
Development Director

CISA_s Annual Meeting
CISA's Annual Meeting
Volunteers needed for CISA's annual meeting & potluck  
Save the date: CISA's annual meeting will be held on Thursday, March 31st from 6-8:30pm at the Holyoke Senior Center. We need volunteers to help set up the event, receive food from guests, and organize potluck buffet lines. You can volunteer for the whole event, or sign up for a single shift and enjoy the rest of the annual meeting. Email Jennifer or call 413-665-7100 to learn more or to sign up.

SNAP & Save continues at winter markets
Don't forget that CISA's SNAP and Save program is doubling SNAP purchases up to $5 at the winter farmers' markets in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and Springfield! Find details about SNAP & Save here.

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. Contact Devon Whitney-Deal (Franklin/Hampshire County businesses) or Kristen Wilmer (Hampden County businesses) at 413-665-7100 with questions.

Coyote Hill Farm at the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market
Coyote Hill Farm at the Greenfield Winter Farmers' Market

Just a few days left until Valentine's Day -- why not think local for your sweetie? Consider flowers from LaSalle Florists, caramels made with local milk from Richardson's Candy Kitchen, or dinner at a Local Hero restaurant!

Our special Winter Fare events have wrapped up for the year, but the winter farmers' markets are still going strong! Visit the markets weekly in Amherst, Northampton, and Wilbraham, twice a month in Springfield, and the first Saturday in March in Greenfield! Farmers' market details are here.

Despite this odd winter, maple sugaring season is coming, and for some farms is already here! Stay tuned to our Facebook page and our events page for updates on sugar shack openings and special maple events.
New cookbook highlights local farms, restaurants, and more!
Keep an eye out for The Berkshires Cookbook, written by Jane Barton Griffith and featuring seasonal recipes and profiles of local farms, restaurants, and other local businesses. It's available at many of the profiled businesses, or online here.

Visit our press room for recent news stories, including an op-ed piece by CISA's Philip Korman and Margaret Christie about the importance of our Local Food for All campaign, national specialty foods awards for Real Pickles and Hosta Hill, and a look at the effect of our warm winter on our local maple producers.

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses. Featured this month: Julia Coffey of Mycoterra Farm, Brendan Walker and Walker Widner of The Hush and Proper, Liam Sullivan from the Northfield Mount Hermon Farm, and David Paysnick of both Rainbow Harvest Farm and the Greenfield Winter Farmers' Market.

CISA's events page is constantly updated with farm tours, field days, festivals, and more! Here are a few upcoming highlights:

Workshop: Logging with Draft Animal Power
February 20th, 10am - 12:30pm
Natural Roots Farm, Conway

Experience draft animal powered forestry with Natural Roots Farm and the Hilltown Land Trust. Learn about draft animal power from a local licensed forester and then watch a horse-logging demonstration by Natural Roots farmer David Fisher and his horses. Open to all, free to Hilltown Land Trust members. More information and details on how to RSVP are available here.

PVGrows Spring Forum
March 9th, 12pm - 5pm
Gateway City Arts, Holyoke

The 2016 PVGrows Forum will examine the ways in which health and local food are connected, and specifically how issues of access, affordability and equity in our local food system impact health outcomes for our communities, and disproportionately so for poor communities and communities of color. PVGrows Forums are annual events that bring 100-150 people interested in the food system of the Pioneer Valley together to spend a day deeply exploring one crucial topic. Find more information and sign up here.

4th Annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference
March 12th, 8am - 5:30pm
Northeastern University, Boston

The annual Massachusetts Urban Farming Conference (UFC) is designed to advance the opportunities and address the barriers involved in cultivating a resilient and thriving Urban Farming sector. This conference aims to foster solutions, sustainable networks, and business relationships. Register and find more information 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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