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Hello, spring!

By the end of this month, the first few farmers' markets around the Valley will be opening, and then we'll see a cascade of farm stands opening their doors, CSA farms starting their distributions, and spring crops appearing at grocery stores.

We're thrilled to announce that, thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, we surpassed the $100,000 goal for our 'Local Food for All' campaign last month! 

That means that this summer, we'll be able to match SNAP up to $10 at farmers' markets through our SNAP & Save program. And, we'll be able to increase the scope of our Senior FarmShare program to serve 50 additional seniors, and to increase the amount we're paying to farmers for those vegetable shares. We're excited to be able to do more to serve our community this summer -- thank you for helping to make that possible.
If you're as eagerly looking forward to asparagus and strawberries as we are, this is a great time to check out our Local Food Impact Calculator -- plug in your own purchasing numbers to see what your everyday food choices mean to the local and statewide economy. 
CISA staff 
 Glenroy Buchanan joins CISA's Board
We're pleased to welcome Glenroy Buchanan of the Pioneer Valley/New England Growers Co-op to CISA's Board. Glenroy has been farming and creatively working to fill gaps in our local food system, especially related to making food accessible to low-income people, for decades. Read more about Glenroy in his 2011 Local Hero Award profile

Ag Day at the State House
Earlier this month, CISA staff joined dozens of other agricultural organizations and farmers at the State House to talk with legislators about issues important to the agricultural community. To learn more about CISA's budget priorities and Ag Day, click here.

CISA and Valley Gives!
On May 3rd, CISA will be joining in the excitement of Valley Gives, a 24-hour campaign to encourage giving to local nonprofits. Save the date! 
Thanks for a great Annual Meeting!
Our annual meeting, held March 31, provided a great opportunity to celebrate our 2015 Local Hero award winners (Appalachian Naturals, Enterprise Farm, and Randall's Farm and Greenhouse -- read all about them here!) and learn about creating vibrant farmers' markets for diverse communities. Thanks to everyone who came - you helped make it a successful night!

Red Fire Farm at the Winter Farmers' Market at Forest Park
Winter farmers' markets are still going strong: the Northampton Winter Farmers' Market, the winter Farmers' Market at Forest Park in Springfield, and the Wilbraham Winter Farmers' Market will all be open though this month.

And the end of April brings the first summer farmers' markets -- you can find start dates and details about the summer markets here.

If you're a gardener, look here for info on the dozens of local options for garden starts and other plants. Greenhouses all around the region are stocked with vegetable, flower, and fruit plants for your garden and home!

Grow Food Northampton and Tuesday Market 
Grow Food Northampton announced on Monday that it is officially taking over Northampton's Tuesday Market from founders Ben James and Oona Coy. We're thrilled that this thriving market has found a new home, and excited to see what new energy can bring to it! Grow Food Northampton's website has more information about the transition.

Greenfield's new Tuesday Market
A new farmers' market will begin on Tuesday afternoons in Greenfield, starting on April 26th. The market is the result of a grant from the Rural Community College Alliance, and is led by the Franklin Community Coop with collaboration from CISA and Greenfield Community College. The market will take place on Main Street in Greenfield, next door to Green Fields Market. Find more information here 
Visit our press room for recent news stories, including a profile of Auntie Cathie's Kitchen in West Springfield and a conversation with Laurie Cuevas of the Maple Valley Ice Cream and Mill Valley Milk Company in Hadley.

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses. Featured this month: Dan Kaplan of Brookfield Farm in Amherst, Karen Randall of Randall's Farm and Greenhouse in Ludlow, and Jim Lyons and Jill Horton-Lyons of Winterberry Farm in Colrain.

Sixteen Acres Garden Center
Local Hero Profile: Sixteen Acres Garden Center
"It's nice to see how much joy people gain from beautifying their homes. We just make so many people happy," says Judy of Sixteen Acres Garden Center in Springfield. Founded by her parents more than half a century ago, the garden center grows a huge range of garden plants in their nine full-sized greenhouses. Read the full profile here.
CISA's events page is constantly updated with farm tours, field days, festivals, and more! Here are a few upcoming highlights:

3rd Annual Cellars & Cave Tour of Heath and Colrain
April 16th, 9am - 4:30pm, Heath Community Hall

Take a firsthand look at a variety of root and cider cellars as well as a cheese cave, and attend do-it-yourself workshops on canning and making cheese, cider, beer, sausage and maple syrup. Register and find more information here.

GTC's Groundbreaking and Volunteer Impact Day
April 23rd, 9am - 1pm, 200 Walnut Street, Springfield
Gardening the Community, a nonprofit focused on urban farming and youth development, has dreamed of owning land for fourteen years. Now they finally do! Join them as they mark this historic moment, and stay to pitch in. Bring a shovel if you can. Find more information and RSVP 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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